Senator Scott Brown has just opened a federal political action committee (PAC), called the Brown Victory Committee, to collect large-dollar contributions — using the exact same approach that Massachusetts Republicans derided Deval Patrick for, and which was barred by state law in 2009.
The Brown Victory Committee, which operates under federal campaign laws, is not subject to the state ban.
The “Victory Committee” will accept individual contributions of as much as $35,800. Of that, the maximum allowable will be transfered to the Scott Brown 2012 campaign committee ($2500 for the primary campaign, and $2500 for the general election).
It is likely [now confirmed] that the remaining $30,800 will be transfered to the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) — that happens to be the maximum allowable individual contribution limit, per calendar year, to that committee under federal law….
Personally, I don’t have a huge problem with this. The donation to the campaign committee is legal; the donation to the party committee is legal; so what’s the big deal about doing both at once? But not long ago, the local GOP thought it was just awful.
Governor Patrick created a similar arrangement with a state committee, called the 71st Fund (denoting Patrick as the Commonwealth’s 71st governor), soon after he was elected in 2006. Individuals could contribute $5500, of which $500 went to Patrick’s committee, and $5000 to the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
That arrangement was attacked by Republicans as an unethical means of evading Massachusetts’s strict contribution limits, and for providing unsavory influence to large donors and special interests. The state outlawed the practice in an ethics-reform law passed in May 2009.
At the time, then-state senator Richard Tisei, who became the Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee in 2010, accused Patrick of exploiting a “gaping loophole” in state campaign-finance laws. “It is cozy arrangements like this that have made the public so cynical about state government,” he wrote.
Tisei’s former fundraiser Neil Scott is the finance director for the new Brown Victory Committee.
And a shocker:
Calls to the Massachusetts Republican Party for comment were not immediately returned.
Hilarious. Great work by Bernstein. Can’t wait to hear why this is OK but the Deval committee wasn’t. Oh, wait – I know. IOKIYAR.