Roll Call's Simone Pathé reported on Thursday that, "[a] new campaign finance reform political action committee expects to be among the top five outside groups to assist campaigns this cycle."
The group, called End Citizens United PAC, tells Roll Call that "it’s on track to raise $25 to $30 million to funnel through a yet-to-be-created independent expenditure arm." It has already raised $2 million since March, about what Democratic long-shot candidate Martin O'Malley raised in his first month.
According to a POLITICO item, the $2 million hasn't come from a massive groundswell of organic grassroots support, but rather, because "the group is renting the ...[email] list" of a pro-Clinton super PAC called ReadyPAC, which readers might recall was once called "Ready for Hillary."
Like the old George Carlin quip that "Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity," there's a particular irony to a group raising PAC money to "get money out of politics." (Of course, so long as politicians on both sides give government money to people, we'll never truly "get money out of politics.")
And stranger yet, here they are bragging that they're going to be a top PAC with one of the biggest monetary influences in the 2016 cycle! That's unlikely.
Renting lists from other groups to raise money with the likely unattainable goal of overturning Citizens United with a constitutional amendment is not unlike the many organizations that have popped up over the years to support the popular, yet futile, causes du jour.
The group is endorsing only Democrats. And among their endorsements, most are incumbents in relatively safe districts, with the exception of former Sen. Russ Feingold, who is running for his old seat in Wisconsin in what likely be a close race. (Feingold, a staunch campaign finance reform advocate, is already breaking a longtime campaign finance reform promise.)
While it's doubtful as time elapses they'll be a "top five" player, looking at whether they spend any significant amount on upstart, long-shot candidates will be a good measure of whether they're idealists or just another incumbent protection PAC running conveniently under the banner of campaign finance reform.