Meet the first “Corporate” Super PAC


Today came a moment campaign finance watchers have been waiting for: the first corporate "Super PAC"–that is a PAC whose sole source of funding is corporate money–filed its paper work with the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC).

However, the PAC, known as American Phoenix, is not necessarily what people have been fearing after the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Citizens United decision, permitted corporations and unions to give unlimited amounts to Super PACs. As reported by Dan Eggan at The Washington Post, the source of funding is a Florida firm known as Deep Sea Burial Corp., which provides "green burial services"–that is burial at sea.

Egan reports that “the super PAC will be focused on easing government red-tape surrounding sea burials and "14 or 15 other issues" related to the environment.” In an interview with the Sunlight Foundation, the PAC's treasurer, Michael Benjamin, spelled out what these issues are, and they range far and wide: The most obivous agenda is to ban cremation and replace the practice with deep sea burial, but he also advocates for legalization of sex work and drugs; to declare Islam as a hostile political party rather than a religion; to ban circumcision before 18; and that homeowner associations be put to a vote every five years.

Deep Sea Burials is organized under 501(C)3 of the U.S. tax code. According to Michael Benjamin, he formed the corporation in order build a PAC, an unusual tactic. 

Deep Sea Burial wants to structure its payment system so that those that want to be buried through the organization could write off contributions because the organization is also trying to ban long net fishing and whaling.