Tricia Erickson: Is Romney using a familiar strategy to garner support for another run?
Mitt Romney has been very busy traversing the states, playing out the same strategy of raising money for midterm candidates that he effected running up to his 2012 Presidential run.
While both he and Ann continually declare that Mitt will not run for President again, his “campaign” activities are consonantly on the same track.
Since I’ve already researched and reported on this strategy in my book, I’ll just copy it below. I always say, “If it walks like a duck”….
Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? – book excerpt:
“Romney’s Commonwealth PAC Slush Fund”
Romney’s presidential campaign was on the ground running only months after he was sworn in as Governor of Massachusetts in 2003. In 2004 Romney established his Commonwealth PAC. A PAC for presidential candidates is typical and legal, but Romney went a step further and established PAC affiliates in several key electoral states, such as Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire, Alabama and South Carolina.
According to the Politico, “The Commonwealth PACs complied with state rules rather than federal law, allowing some wealthy Romney backers to donate as much as $250,000 to his operation – well above the $2,300 federal cap for individual contributions.” Romney’s state PAC affiliates bypassed federal law and served as merely a slush fund for Romney to buy endorsements and influence.
“The stated purpose of the Commonwealth PAC is to elect GOP candidates, but its indirect role of raising Romney’s profile and amassing chits, or at the very least good will, is apparent from an analysis of PAC spending this year,” wrote Brian C. Mooney of the Boston Globe in December 2006.
In 2006 Mooney noted that Romney’s PAC donated to 400 candidates in 36 states and 300 GOP state, county and local committees. He donated $49,500 to the Michigan GOP, $20,000 to the new hampshire GOP and even $5,000 to South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s campaign committee even though he was not up for reelection until 2010.
The largest amount of Commonwealth PAC money went to candidates and party committees in the following key states: Iowa and Michigan ($276,165), new hampshire ($164,150), South Carolina – the first southern state with a primary ($144,500) and Alabama – which moved up its primary to February ($143,500).
Romney, surely realizing his pro-abortion and anti-family record in Massachusetts, his “Fee Fee” pro-tax reputation, as well as his membership in an anti-Christian church, also sought to buy his influence among Christian and conservative organizations.
In Massachusetts, Romney’s foundation donated $15,000 to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, $10,000 to Massachusetts Citizens for Limited Taxation and $10,000 to the Massachusetts Family Institute (which is affiliated with the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family) in December 2006.
In March 2005, after Romney’s convenient conversion to pro-life, the Boston Globe reported that “Marie Sturgis, legislative director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life said she hasn’t detected any change in Romney’s stance. The group considers Romney to be an abortion rights supporter, as do national anti-abortion groups such as the Family Research Council.”
Yet in March 2007, the New York Times quoted Sturgis “Granted, when he began his role as governor, he certainly was not with us…but toward the end, if you look at the record, especially in the stem cell debate, he certainly took the pro-life position consistently.”
In addition to Massachusetts groups, Romney’s foundation also donated $25,000 to the conservative Heritage Foundation, which coordinated with him on his disastrous RomneyCare, $35,000 to the Federalist Society, a network of conservatives focused on judicial nominations, and $5,000 (along with another $5,000 from Evangelicals for Mitt) to help sponsor a dinner for the National Review’s website. According to the New York Times, “All the groups said he had never contributed before, and his foundation’s public tax filings show no previous gifts to similar groups.” [Emphasis mine]
Romney enjoyed a cover and positive comments from the National Review, and eventually received their endorsement in 2007. The Review itself had a hard time justifying Romney’s record, instead blaming the liberal state of Massachusetts “He [Romney] may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as Governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism.”
In South Carolina, a key primary state, Romney’s PAC donated $9,500 to the Palmetto state’s GOP, $500 to South Carolina Citizens for Life, $1,000 to South Carolina’s Club for Growth, $1,000 to South Carolinians for Responsible Government , $2,000 to South Carolina Victory and $2,000 to Charleston school board candidates.
Romney’s money would also be used to buy support in other areas, particularly the conservative media.”
Tricia Erickson is the author of the book, Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? & http://www.