Remember when Elizabeth Warren criticized other candidates for the use of political action committees (PACs) for fundraising? Well, that was then and this is now. Her thoughts about using her own PAC apparently have evolved, to use progressive vernacular. A new PAC has formed to help Warren out. The PAC filed papers on Tuesday and the focus is on the Nevada primary this week.
Now that Warren’s candidacy is in real trouble, after a poor showing in both Iowa and New Hampshire, four women have formed Persist PAC. The PAC has purchased a seven-figure ad buy in Nevada ahead of Saturday’s caucuses. Warren is cagey about admitting to caving and using the help. There is no candidate endorsement on the initial ad and her campaign insists she hasn’t changed her mind about the use of PACs but she doesn’t disavow Persist PAC, either. She’s twisting herself into a pretzel on the topic.
When asked for comment, the Warren campaign disavowed PACs broadly but did not specifically mention Persist PAC.
“Senator Warren’s position hasn’t changed,” the campaign said. “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 PAC is using images of Barack Obama and Warren together and the message is clear – she fights, she persists. Here’s the first 30 second ad:
A “source involved with Persist PAC” claims an infusion of money into the Warren campaign is all about working for campaign finance reform, or something. This isn’t a Super PAC organized for supporting liberal women candidates in general, like Emily’s List which supports pro-abortion women candidates, but a Super PAC formed specifically to keep Elizabeth Warren in the fight. She has to know of their efforts and what they are doing for her. Isn’t she being what Democrats accuse women supporters of President Trump of being – complicit?
A source involved with Persist PAC told NBC News that the group’s founders believe Warren is the best person to become president and that they need to help elect her in order to enact the campaign finance change she often talks about on the trail.
To do that, they said, requires informing voters and getting the word out about her, working within the rules as they are currently written.
Emily’s List has contributed to both Warren and Amy Klobuchar. The organization doesn’t bother to try and pretend it is about campaign finance reform, though. It’s all about putting a woman up against the bad Orange Man.
“EMILY’s List was created to elect pro-choice Democratic women and we are proud of the campaigns both Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren are running,” Reynolds told NBC News. “While we respect their views and agree on the need for campaign finance reform, we believe this election is too important and we want to do what we can within the bounds of existing law to support them. We have made equal donations of $250,000 to each organization.”
Persist PAC doesn’t disclose its donors, nor do other groups that have helped Warren.
Warren has been supported by other independent groups so far in the campaign, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is a PAC that operates within certain fundraising and spending restrictions and that has an affiliated nonprofit that can take unlimited amounts of money from donors not disclosed to the public.
In the fall, a nonprofit called Women.Vote ran an ad promoting Warren in Iowa. That group does not disclose its donors either, but filings showed ties to a longtime Warren ally and major Democratic donor, Karla Jurvetson.
Klobuchar, too, bad-mouths the use of PACs yet there is one who supports her. She, too, isn’t budging on denying using PACs.
Another super PAC has launched to help the candidacy of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who has gained momentum in recent weeks. Kitchen Table Conversations PAC formed Friday and released its first ad focusing on Nevada, South Carolina and states holding primary contests on Super Tuesday, March 3.
Warren has struggled to keep up with the top candidates in fundraising since Iowa and New Hampshire. Her aggressive performance in Wednesday’s debate seems to have helped out on that front. Her campaign says that $2.8 million was raised Wednesday.
We just had our best debate day of the entire campaign, raising more than $2.8 million. 🔥
Will you chip in $2 right now to keep the momentum going? We can only do this together. https://t.co/uXvKIOKVrW
— Warren Democrats (@TeamWarren) February 20, 2020
That money is being put to use immediately. Here’s a full-page ad in Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper Thursday noting how much he would pay if her wealth tax was put into place:
The day after the debate, Elizabeth Warren bought a full page ad in Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper saying Sheldon Adelson will pay $2.3 billion the first year of her wealth tax. I think that’s called chutzpah. pic.twitter.com/dV7O3G8MJu
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) February 20, 2020
Ralston is Editor of The Nevada Independent and is an expert on Nevada politics. I don’t call it chutzpah, though, from Warren. She could have done the same using Michael Bloomberg and his Bloomberg News but she didn’t. She attacked the Republican-voting, Trump-supporting Adelson instead of her opponent in the Democrat primary. That makes her just another divisive Democrat candidate grasping at anything to generate a buzz.
Update (AP): Here’s Warren very much not denying that she’ll welcome help from the PAC.
NEW: Here is video of Warren declining to disavow the new super PAC supporting her:
“If all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in. I'll lead the charge. But that's how it has to be. It can't be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only 1 or 2 don’t.” pic.twitter.com/byxQRjGMfs
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 20, 2020