Political leanings: Pro-business/Free-market/Republican
Spending target: Unknown; $6.3 million spent by mid-August 2010
Americans for Job Security has been active since 1997. It describes itself as a "pro-business issue advocacy organization." It also says it is independent and bipartisan, but it leans Republican. Its president is Stephen DeMaura, who was executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party in 2007 and early 2008.
AJS is organized as a 501(c)6 "business league," and does not disclose its donors. It says only that its members are "businesses, business leaders and entrepreneurs." In 2008, staff lawyers for the Federal Election Commission saw "reason to believe" that AJS had violated federal election law by, among other things, failing to register as a political committee and failing to disclose its donors. But in 2009 the three Republican commissioners on the FEC blocked any action, voting to dismiss the case while the three Democratic commissioners voted to pursue it. Since a majority is required for the FEC to act, the partisan 3-3 deadlock killed any enforcement action against AJS. When the Supreme Court later struck down longstanding federal laws against campaign spending by corporations and labor unions, AJS President DeMaura told the Wall Street Journal the decision was an "unequivocal victory" for those "who believe in free speech and the rights of organizations such as ours to promote our point of view."
Since its inception AJS says it has raised nearly $60 million and run more than 90 different TV spots in 46 states and the District of Columbia. DeMaura told FactCheck.org that as of mid-August, the group had spent $6.3 million in the 2010 election cycle, but he would not say what the group expected to spend during the remainder of the election campaign.
During 2010 it backed Republican Scott Brown, who won a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Later it was active in the Arkansas Democratic primary, attacking union-backed candidate Bill Halter, who was running for the Senate nomination against incumbent Blanche Lincoln. Halter lost. AJS also dove into a number of Republican primaries in 2010. In the Michigan race for the Republican nomination for governor, it attacked Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who was later defeated. In the Republican Senate primary in Colorado, it attacked Jane Norton, who lost the nomination to Ken Buck, the tea party favorite. In the Republican gubernatorial primary in South Carolina, it attacked Rep. J. Gresham Barrett, who also lost.