Ken Davis, a former state House candidate in Arizona, this week launched perhaps one of the loftiest-named Super PACs yet: A Promise to Our Children.
Davis said he did not know that forming a Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, would be so easy until Colbert explained the process. Earlier this year, the comedian demonstrated how to fill out a form to start such a committee. Later, he went to the Federal Election Commission to request a media exemption (which was granted) so he could start the Super PAC.
“To be perfectly honest, I was inspired by Stephen Colbert," Davis said. "He explained exactly how to do this on his program. I thought this was a much more daunting task than it was. When I saw him do this, I looked into this, and we filed.”
Super PACs can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations and unions but are not allowed to coordinate with candidates on spending those funds. The donors must be disclosed—but sometimes not until months after their donation.
Davis says his Super PAC's main goal is to support candidates who back a balanced budget at the federal level and oppose those that do not.
The PAC has lofty ambitions: “We’d like to get it to the million-dollar range. Again, this is a Super PAC, so we have basically unlimited funds,” Davis said of the PACs potential to raise and spend money.
Davis is a retired Air Force veteran who now works as a civilian employee for the service. He lost in the Democratic primary to represent Arizona’s 25th district in 2010.
“It’s really not about me,” Davis said. He described the fund as non-partisan, with two goals—to balance the budget and to reduce the deficit. Balancing the budget can come through raising revenue or cutting taxes, he added.
The PAC, which will focus on candidates for federal office, including president, has not raised any money yet, but Davis plans to start doing so at the local level, he said. He will also be writing to office-seekers.
“I’m going to be writing letters to candidates asking them to make this promise and asking the campaigns for contact information for who might be willing to donate to this cause.”
A Promise to Our Children is one of 21 Super PACs filed this week—all the others were launched by a serial committee-starter based in Florida.
In all, that makes 52 Super PACs filed since Sept. 19—a rate of about one per day.
Super PACs have proliferated ever since two court decisions in early 2010: Citizens United v. FEC and SpeechNow.org v. FEC. The former ruled that the ban on corporate or union independent expenditures is unconstitutional. The latter allowed for the creation of Super PACs. Davis is just the latest to take advantage of that ruling.