As had been expected, some former Obama White House aides launched twin groups, Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, on Friday, set up to accept the same kind of anonymous donations that Democrats criticized Republicans for accepting in the last election cycle.
“Our mission is to mobilize Americans to preserve, protect and defend the American middle class, and to ensure opportunity and freedom for the next generation of Americans,” Priorities USA Action’s new website reads.
Set up by former White House aides Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, and with help from Democratic strategists like Paul Begala and Geoff Garin, the Priorities groups aim to raise $100 million to support the President’s reelection, and are “jettisoning an Obama rule aimed at limiting the influence of special interests by welcoming unlimited contributions from lobbyists, labor unions, corporations, and political action committees - sources that are still banned from giving to the president’s re-election campaign,” organizers told Politico.
Burton and Sweeney suggested to Politico that the groups were a way of leveling the playing field in a post-Citizens United world.
“While we agree that fundamental campaign finance reforms are needed, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers cannot live by one set of rules as our values and our candidates are overrun with their hundreds of millions of dollars,” Burton said. “We will follow the rules as the Supreme Court has laid them out, but the days of a double standard are over.”
Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times reported how Democrats have begun to open the door to anonymous donors, while setting up so-called “super PACs,” which report their contributors to the FEC, but can take in unlimited amounts of money from nonprofit 501(c)(4) social welfare groups, which in turn can raise money from undisclosed donors.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com