Will Jason Lewis Refuse PAC Donations After Attacking Angie Craig ?

Jason Lewis was gleeful that a prominent Republican actually endorsed him …

“I am honored to have Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ endorsement in this race,” said Lewis. “We need more leaders like her who are willing to take on tough challenges in Washington, D.C. in order to improve the lives of hardworking American families. I look forward to working with Rep. McMorris Rodgers in Congress.”

Ya gotta wonder what they talked about … possibly even the Young Guns program … but wannabe-Congressman Lewis has not advance to the first level of the program: On the Radar.

On the Radar candidates are individuals running in competitive congressional seats. They have met the minimum threshold in campaign organization and show potential to achieve greater status in the program as the cycle progresses.

Minnesota’s Eighth District candidate Stewart Mills III is a Young Gun

No doubt, Minnesota’s Second District is one that the Republicans want to retain as John Kline held the seat for over a decade … but there is a question of “competitiveness”. The competitiveness that John Kline worried about … would the candidate be able to fundraise sufficiently ?
Through FEC reporting (last date July 20, 2016), wannabe-Congressman Lewis had raised $369,431 … not the million-plus that would be expected.

By comparison, the DFL endorsed candidate, Angie Craig reported contributions exceeding $1,546,000.

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers knows that is not enough … and that is why the RNCC has programs like the Young Guns and Patriot Program.
Actually, the Patriot Program is pretty detailed … with financial goals by quarter. But there are also some “strings” … as the Washington Post reported :

submit an off-year “campaign plan” that includes: “Detailed, written legislative strategy that provides short-, intermediate-, and long-term legislative goals, including political justifications for those goals.”

“Be sure to include local issues unique to the district or region,” the contract says. “Complete a Patriot Policy Priorities worksheet to be used by NRCC staff to evaluate legislative priorities for the current Congress and to promote and advocate for those priorities where appropriate.”

The closely-held document offers a window into how much autonomy lawmakers often must forfeit to unelected Washington insiders. For instance, in exchange for reelection support, lawmakers must promise to exclusively use vendors sanctioned by establishment-aligned party chieftains, attend training sessions and raise six figures for the NRCC. They must also commit to holding a certain amount of cash-on-hand at the end of each fundraising quarter and limit their spending.

The contract leaves voters asking how accountable the candidate is to the District or to Washington Powerbrokers … some call it a “Pay To Play” scheme … if you want the RNCC money, you follow their rules.

Obviously, there have been complaints about the RNCC “Pay To Play” programm … and now Jason Lewis is out with a press release not attacking Republicans for their “Pay To Play” program but instead Angie Craig … because she has received donations from other Members of Congress campaign committees and other Political Action Committees — in excess of $368,000.
Yep, Craig has received almost as much from PAC as Lewis has received in total … such that Lewis is suggesting that Craig is working both sides of the system from per past employment in business to her candidacy.

The Lewis press release :

As the former Chair of a Political Action Committee, Craig steered over $750,000 to lobbyists, candidates and special interest groups in order to benefit her own industry.

Yep, it’s true in 2011, St. Jude Medical spent $670,000 on federal lobbying activities and another $34,500 on state lobbying activities. In the same year, the SJM PAC made $53,000 in political contributions.

St. Jude Medical recognizes the impact that public policy decisions have on the global health care community. Because of this, we support the development of sound public policy through direct advocacy, lawful corporate contributions and sponsorship of the St. Jude Medical Political Action Committee (SJM PAC), the nonpartisan political action committee of St. Jude Medical employees.
The SJM PAC seeks to educate and mobilize employee political involvement and to support candidates that advance legislation important to St. Jude Medical’s growth and development as a medical device manufacturer. St. Jude Medical pays the PAC’s administrative costs as allowed by law, but all SJM PAC contributions are funded through the voluntary support of eligible St. Jude Medical employees.

OK … read the last statement again … all political contributions are voluntary and come from employees … and the amount is a small ($53,000 spread out over 30 candidates with Erik Paulsen, Mitch McConnell and Amy Klobuchar getting the largest donation – $5,000 ).

Note also the comment “nonpartisan” … which means that Republicans and Democrats may get the donations … in fact, the SJM PAC made a donation to Congresswoman McMorris-Rodgers … and have repeatedly given to Erik Paulsen … and even sent money to the Norm Coleman Recount Fund.

This cycle, the SJM PAC has made two donations to the Angie Craig For Congress campaign … for a grand total of $10,000.
Wanna-be Congressman Lewis leaves the impression that Angie Craig had a long-term plan of controlling a PAC that would then fund her political campaign … and never mentions that in 2012, the Chair of the SJM PAC was rotated to someone else and Angie Craig wasn’t even on the review committee.
Does anyone think that if Angie Craig had this power over the SMJ PAC, she would advocate sending monies to someone who has endorsed her opponent ?

But, yes, it is true that a lot of other PAC also gave money to Angie Craig, just as PAC have given to Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and Congressman Paulsen … but somehow wannabe-Congressman Lewis doesn’t focus on that.

No, wannabe-Congressman Lewis wants to focus on small donors … noting that “small donors are supporting Lewis in record numbers.”
Yep, FEC filings indicate that “unitemized individual contributors” (meaning under $200) sent his campaign $135,533 ….
BUT, wannabe-Congressman Lewis could have also said that that “small donors are supporting Craig in even greater numbers” as her FEC filing tally is $241,000.

Wannabe-Congressman Lewis is trying to spin things …

Yep, the self-described “lowly talk show host” who has an estimated net worth in excess of $2,185,026, explained to his listening audience in a segment entitled “Why I’m Running” :

I need your money [he laughs] doesn’t get any simpler than that does it. I need your money. This is going to be about money folks, that’s how you’re going to be judged, whether you’re going to be able to win. That’s how you’re going to fight the opposition.

I know many of you are listening from throughout the country, what I want you to do is also donate and here’s why, you can change Congress. And if you change Congress, you change the direction of the country right in your neighborhood as well. This will be a national bellwether of a race.

But the silver-tongued radio man who the Charlotte Observer described as “either Right with Rush [Limbaugh] or Right of him”, is not exactly filling campaign coffers.
So now his failing to attract PAC monies is being used as a badge of honor … while Craig message is garnering support from small donors, large donors and PAC.

Now, if wannabe-Congressman Lewis is serious about getting PAC and business interests out of elections, well, he could simply announce that he will not take donations from them.
To his credit, wannabe-Congressman Lewis did return a $1,000 contribution from the US Immigration Reform PAC … but would he do that if the National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund sent him a donation ? (BTW, the NRA PAC golf outing will be held on October 3rd at St. Paul’s Town and Country Golf Club)

And after he does renounce any donations from PAC, he should challenge Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers to do the same … but that would mean that she would have to return over $1,580,000 in contributions … yeah, you know that monies are needed so that Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers can address the “tough challenges in Washington, D.C. in order to improve the lives of hardworking American families.”

Let’s be honest … if wannabe-Congressman Lewis was raking in the cash as others do, he would not be complaining.
But he’s not … why ?
Could that be because he has been prone to attack Republicans like when he would frequently skewer Governor Tim Pawlenty for calling for greenhouse-gas regulations and renewable-energy standards ?
Wannabe-Congressman Lewis has expressed support for proposals to cut budgets by 10% — including Medicare, Medicaid and defense spending.
Wannabe-Congressman Lewis has complained about the 2014 FARM bill citing crop insurance programs and commodity price supports.
And of course that John Kline did not support candidate Lewis in the MNGOP primary.

Wannabe-Congressman Lewis proposals virtually guarantee another government shutdown … something that even Republicans now realize is bad for business.

It would seem that the Lewis message is not resonating — it may have worked when speaking to the Rush Limbaugh audiences as America’s Mr. Right but not as a candidate … while the Angie Craig message of growing jobs and expanding business opportunities is … it may be that Minnesota wants another Amy Klobuchar and not another Rush Limbaugh.

Tags: , ,