A PAC controlled by a state legislator?

pacman-151558_960_720Most likely every candidate for the state legislature receives campaign contributions from Political Action Committees (PACs). There are hundreds and hundreds of PACs registered in Arkansas and it is common place for a candidate to receive contributions from multiple PACs. But, were you aware some politicians create their own PAC to make contributions to other candidates.

With so many PACs making campaign contributions why is there a need for a business or another PAC to run contributions through a PAC created and controlled by a politician? Why would a politician want to take contributions to distribute to other candidates?

The advantage to a politician is obvious.  The politician builds “good will” with other politicians by controlling the PAC money. “Good will” can bring political cooperation, endorsements, and “yes” even campaign contributions back to the legislator’s own campaign.

We are aware of two state legislator controlled PACs but it does not mean there are aren’t more.

  • Senator Jon Woods had the Woods 1836 PAC but after making political contributions for this election he terminated the PAC.
  • Senator Eddie Joe Williams created and controls the GoEddieJoePAC. Senator William’s GoEddieJoePAC is still active.

As odd as it seems for a state legislator to control a PAC, it is even odder to name the PAC after your campaign slogan “Go Eddie Joe.” Seems confusing.

Here are some of the candidates who made a contribution to Senator Williams’ campaign fund this election cycle AND received a greater contribution to their campaign from Senator Williams’ GoEddieJoePAC: Senator Jane English, Representative Jana Della Rosa, Senator Jim Hickey, and Cody Hiland.  It may not be much money but these candidates basically made a tithe or double tithe to Senator Williams campaign before or after receiving GoEddieJoePAC money.  Wouldn’t it have been simpler for Senator Williams to make a campaign contribution to himself from his PAC?

The GoEddieJoePAC receives contributions from big business interests such as Budweiser, tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., health care companies, telecommunications companies, and other PACs and individuals. So, these varying interests came together for the purpose of helping Senator Williams make contributions to other candidates.

Please note, it is not unusual for one politician to make a personal contribution to another politician’s campaign. A politician having his own PAC to make campaign contributions with someone else’s money is a bit different. 

What do you think about politician controlled PACs?

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The two PACs mentioned here were pointed out to us as appearing in Representative Jana Della Rosa’s campaign reports.  Perhaps there are more legislator controlled PAC’s but to to find out would require us to look at hundreds and hundreds of PAC registrations. It would be a huge task because the filings are not in a searchable database. The law should be changed to require all campaign filings to be filed electronically in a format to allow voters to search the records of both candidates and PACs.