Rubio super PAC ad spending kicks into high gear in Iowa


Marco Rubio’s super PAC Conservative Solutions is spending big in Iowa, with a second ad buy over $1 million in as many weeks.

Last week, Conservative Solutions reported spending $1.33 million on ads, all in Iowa. They paid Target Enterprises, LLC $1,315,863 for media placement and online advertising. Target Enterprises is run by Adam Stoll, who also works for Conservative Solutions. The rest was spent on production — $14,222 to Chris Mottola Consulting, Inc., and $1,000 to BASK Digital Media, LLC.

Marco Rubio speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

We don’t know if these are the ads they placed — or how many this purchase bought them, given that the rate charged for super PACs is much higher than for campaigns. But the group’s YouTube page shows four new ads uploaded in the past few days: one attacking Ted Cruz on national security, and three others — “Protect,” “Clarity” and “Safer” — praising Rubio on national security.

Just the week before, on Dec. 7, the super PAC made another similarly-sized buy, also in Iowa. They paid Target Enterprises, LLC $1.18 million for media placement and $89,677 for advertising.

These two buys are the only two significant independent expenditures made by the group so far. (Independent expenditures are funds spent by an organization or individual to “advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate,” which can include ads or direct mail, that aren’t coordinated with a campaign.) They raised $16 million in the first half of 2016, $8 million of which was from two donors: Larry Ellison and Norman Braman. We won’t know what else they’ve been spending on this year until the next filing with the Federal Election Commission in January.

This is something of a shift for Rubio, who so far has been heavily supported by a 501(c)4, Conservative Solutions Project. It has spent around $8.5 million on ads so far, making it the second-biggest advertiser this cycle — and it doesn’t have to disclose its donors. It’s interesting to see the super PAC, which does disclose its donors, taking on some of the work.