Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 30, 2014

Freshman Rep. Joe Kennedy III Starts Leadership PAC

 Freshman Rep. Joe Kennedy III Starts Leadership PAC

Rep. Joe P. Kennedy III (D-Mass), has taken a big step into the national arena of political fundraising from lobbyists, Washington insiders and national donors. On Tuesday his registration statement was received at the Federal Election Commission for his new 4MA PAC leadership PAC. Many members of Congress have leadership PACs that are generally used to raise funds from interest group PACs and lobbyists who are readily available to attend fundraising events in Washington, D.C. Individuals may give $5,000 a year to the leadership PAC, whereas they can only give $2,600 to a candidate per election.

The collected funds are then often used by a member of Congress to give contributions to new candidates, such as general election challengers or open-seat candidates. In many cases, funds are contributed to other members of Congress who may sincerely appreciate receiving the contribution, whether they need the funds or not. If the funds are not needed for their re-election they can always take it and contribute it to another member. It helps build relationships. These are the same members who may sign up to co-sponsor bills, vote in a standing committee, vote on legislation, and vote in elections for party leadership positions.

In the 2011-2012 election cycle, leadership PACs gave $30 million directly to Republican candidates and $19 million directly to Democratic candidates. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s leadership PAC, Searchlight Leadership Fund, raised $2.6 million in the last cycle. Speaker John A. Boehner’s PAC, The Freedom Project, raised $3.7 million in the last cycle.

Rep. Kennedy was elected to the 113th Congress to fill the seat formerly held by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass. ). Kennedy raised $4.2 million in the 2011-2012 cycle and had $311,754 in cash on hand as of the end of the year. His campaign raised $425,321 from PACs and other committees, including $203,000 from labor PACs. Kennedy currently sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. See Kennedy’s 2011-2012 financial profile.

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