Spending target: Unknown
The Senate Majority PAC is a Democratic super PAC created to “protect and expand the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.” In 2014, 21 Democratic seats and 15 Republican seats are up for grabs. The Republicans, who now hold 45 seats, would need to pick up a net of six seats to gain control of the Senate.
As a super PAC, Senate Majority PAC is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts provided that all donations and expenditures are reported publicly. The group was created in 2010 under the name “Commonsense Ten” by Jim Jordan, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Monica Dixon, a former aide to Vice President Al Gore; and Democratic party operative Jeff Forbes. In 2011, Commonsense Ten changed its name to Senate Majority PAC, and Rebecca Lambe joined as a senior adviser. Lambe was the chief political strategist for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada during his 2010 reelection campaign. Reid’s former chief of staff, Susan McCue, also joined the committee. Senate Majority PAC is allied, but not formally affiliated, with Patriot Majority USA, a 501(c)(4) organization that focuses on economic issues and is led by Democratic political strategist Craig Varoga.
During the 2012 election cycle, the PAC raised more than $42 million and ranked 4th in total spending among super PACs. The largest contributions came from Fred Eychaner of Newsweb Corp.; Euclidean Capital LLC President James H. Simons; the Carpenters and Joiners Union; the American Federation of Teachers; the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees; and the Franklin L. Haney Co., a real estate investment company run by a longtime Democratic donor. As a super PAC, the group is barred from contributing directly to candidates, but it spent $3,651,229 on advertising for Democratic candidates and $33,847,028 on advertising against Republican candidates. It spent the most money opposing Republican election bids in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana and North Dakota.
As of July 2013, Senate Majority PAC had raised more than $3 million for the 2014 campaign cycle and for 2013 special elections. As of Jan. 30, 2014, it had spent more than $1.36 million in the Massachusetts special election opposing Gabriel Gomez’s bid against Rep. Ed Markey for John Kerry’s Senate seat. It also spent more than $1.4 million supporting Sen. Kay Hagan’s 2014 reelection bid in North Carolina, more than $620,000 opposing Rep. Bill Cassidy’s attempt to unseat Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and more than $340,000 opposing Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 reelection bid in Kentucky. Most recently, the PAC spent more than $150,000 for attack ads against former Sen. Scott Brown, who is considering challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s reelection bid in New Hampshire.
While the PAC’s $42 million in fundraising during the 2012 election cycle marked a great increase from its 2010 fundraising of $4.3 million, congressional Democrats are hoping to raise even more money for 2014. In June 2013, Congressional Democrats outlined their hope of raising $75 million for the Senate Majority PAC for the 2014 elections.
So far, the largest contribution in 2014 has come from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who donated $2.5 million to the PAC in January. In 2013, the largest contributions were $700,000 from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and $250,000 each from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and George Marcus, founder and chairman of the real estate brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap.
Fact-checking Senate Majority PAC:
Senate Majority PAC Not Telling Whole Story, Jan. 17, 2014
It’s Groundhog Day for Fact-Checkers, June 28, 2013
Cherry-Picking McConnell’s Pay Raise Votes, June 21, 2013