Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek of Florida is seeking to move congressional offices and grab his state’s senate seat, and if he wins this Tuesday’s primary, he’ll be one step closer. In an effort to make that happen, an independent group has come to the aid of Meek’s modestly-financed campaign—relative to his competitors—and has spent $245,000 placing ads to discredit his opposition, specifically Jeff Greene, a wealthy businessman who has self-financed his run for office.
The large amount of money dedicated to running ads is keeping with what is happening in other parts of the country this election cycle. For instance, in the Colorado Senate primary the winner Michael Bennet received help from an independent expenditure committee. The group in that case, League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, and the group spending for Meek, are both new creations in the campaign finance world post the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case.
The Reporting Group has been following new independent expenditure committees being set up. Under two new FEC advisories, individuals can donate unlimited amounts of money for electioneering purposes.
According to documents filed with the FEC, the recently-formed group named 'Florida is not for Sale' is using its own money gained from unlimited contributions to discredit Greene. The ads should be a great benefit to Meek, whose total campaign contributions (about $7 million) are half that of Greene’s (about $14 million). Greene has taken advantage of his own hearty bank account and loaned his campaign the funds while Meek has received almost all of his campaign funds from contributions.
Despite Greene's abundance of funds, Meek still has a lead according to recent polls.
Ben Pollara, who works for The Wolfram Group, a fundraising firm, is behind the independent expenditure committee spending its money on Meek. In 2008 Pollara raised over $12 million in Florida for Hilary Clinton’s presidential bid and could help the Florida congressman win the state’s Senate primary.
If Pollara continues to raise and spend money supporting Meek, the candidate will not only be able to spend less time fundraising and more time campaigning, but will also give individuals who want to support Meek a way to do so without limits. Before IE committees were approved by the FEC, individuals could only give $5,000 to PACs and $2,400 directly to campaigns. The names of people bankrolling the ad campaign for Meek will likely only be available at the end of September, when the FEC quarterly filings are due.
|Committee ID||Committee Name||FEC link containing forms filed by the Committee|
|C00482620||ARIZONANS WORKING TOGETHER||Link|
|C00484295||CALIFORNIANS FOR FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP||Link|
|C00485821||AMERICANS FOR NEW LEADERSHIP||Link|
|C00486845||LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS VICTORY FUND||Link|
|C00486878||PEOPLE'S MAJORITY||No data available online yet|
|C00486688||FLORIDA IS NOT FOR SALE||Link|
|C00487199||CITIZENS FOR ECONOMIC AND NATIONAL SECURITY!||Link|