Super PAC profile: Leaders for Families pushed Santorum’s Iowa surge


Rick Santorum's late surge in Iowa was aided by a lately formed Super PAC. Leaders for Families takes its name from the Family Leader, an umbrella name for a pair of nonprofit organizations that oppose Iowa's same sex marriage law. Chuck Hurley, the PAC's treasurer, is president of the Iowa Family Policy Center, the "education division" of Family Leader, and president of the Iowa Family PAC, a state-level committee affiliated with Family Leader. 

Hurley endorsed Mike Huckabee in 2007. In an interview with the Iowa Independent in July of that year, Hurley said that Romney's connection to the Marriott International–he served on the board of directors and the company's top executives and owners contributed to his 2008 campaign–as a stumbling block for social conservatives, since the company profited from offering adult entertainment to guests. He added that if Romney could persuade Marriott to drop the pornography, it would be a coup for him.

Despite Marriott's announcement in 2011 that it was doing just that, Hurley endorsed Santorum, as did his Family Leader colleague Bob Vander Plaats.

Update, 6:10 p.m. ET: Hurley tells Roll Call's Eliza Newlin Carney that Leaders for Families is likely to close up shop now that Santorum's campaign has moved past Iowa. The Iowa-based group has done what it was created to do and the founders don't have much influence outside their home state, he reasons.

Marriott International continues to donate to Romney's campaign and J.W. Marriott, chairman and CEO of the company, contributed $500,000 to the Restore Our Future Super PAC, which supports the former Massachusetts governor. 

Leaders for Families lists James Bopp Jr. as its custodian of records; the Terre Haute, Ind.-based attorney represented Citizens United in its landmark Supreme Court victory against the Federal Election Commission that opened the door to unlimited spending by individuals, corporations and labor unions to influence elections. Bopp also formed the Republican Super PAC, which declared it would coordinate fundraising–but not spending–with federal candidates and party officials. The FEC approved such coordination on June 30.

Check out the Sunlight Foundation's interactive roster of presidential super PACs here.