Elizabeth Warren has called for getting rid of big money in politics, including super-PACs, because they try to buy our democracy. Now a super-PAC is backing her presidential campaign.
Persist PAC, formed on Friday, will begin airing its first ad on Warren’s behalf on Thursday. The super-PAC has booked $796,000 in television and cable time in Nevada, more than twice the $323,000 that Warren’s campaign is spending, according to Advertising Analytics.
Under federal law, super-PACs can’t coordinate with candidates on spending decisions. Candidates can tell donors to give money to a super-PAC, as long as they don’t ask for contributions of more than $5,000.
Warren distanced herself from the super-PAC’s activities.
“Since day one of this campaign, she has made clear that she thinks all of the candidates should lock arms together and say we don’t want Super PACs and billionaires to be deciding our Democratic nominee,” the Warren campaign said in a statement.
A Warren-aligned super-PAC could undercut the message of a candidate who spent most of the 2020 race denouncing high-dollar donors and criticizing rivals who rely on PACs to fuel their campaigns.
In emails to supporters this week, Warren touted her commitment to grassroots fund-raising and denounced any rivals who rely on high-dollar donors and PACs.
“Unlike almost everyone else in this race, she isn’t accepting help from outside Super PACs,” she said in a Feb. 12 fund-raising email.
The next day, the campaign emailed that they were “doing this the right way: no PACs, no big bank executives, no closed-door private fund-raisers. Just grassroots donors, chipping in what they can.”
After a third-place finish in Iowa and a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire, the Democratic presidential candidate has been trying to raise enough money to stay in the race through Super Tuesday. Nevada holds its caucus on Saturday.
Throughout the race, she often pointed out that Amy Klobuchar and she were the only two candidates not receiving help from outside political spending.
But Klobuchar, who received a fund-raising boost following a third place finish in New Hampshire, also got the support of a newly formed PAC this week called “Kitchen Table Conversations.” That PAC spent $1.1 million on advertisements for Klobuchar in Nevada and South Carolina, where she’ll need a strong finish in order to stay in the race.
The new super-PACs were formed amid growing anxiety within both parties about the impact of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s spent $416 million on political ads in his bid for the Democratic nomination so far.
And super-PACS can raise money in unlimited amounts, unlike campaigns which have a $2,800 limit on individual donations.
Republican fund-raisers have discussed ways to raise up to an additional $1 billion from President Donald Trump’s re-election effort. Democratic rivals have stepped up attacks on Bloomberg as he’s risen in the polls.
(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
Warren set a $7 million fundraising goal through the Nevada caucuses.
But maintaining a large field operation has meant she’s had less to spend on political ads than rivals she trails in the delegate count. Bernie Sanders has spent $27 million and Pete Buttigieg has spent $17.4 million, compared to $10 million for Warren.
Super-PACs also have to file reports with the Federal Election Commission disclosing information on their fund-raising and donors. Persist PAC, which registered with the FEC Tuesday, won’t have to do so until April 15.
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