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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Senate Majority PAC

pg16insertPolitical leanings: Democratic

Spending target: Unknown

The Senate Majority PAC is a super PAC devoted to electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate. In the 2014 election cycle, it raised nearly $67 million, the second most of any super PAC. According to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, it aired TV ads 45,000 times during that election, accounting for one of every 20 ads aired in U.S. Senate races.

Its treasurer and co-chair is Rebecca Lambe, a top political strategist for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. The other co-chair is Susan McCue, Reid’s former chief of staff.

As a super PAC, Senate Majority PAC is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts provided that all donations and expenditures are reported publicly. It cannot legally contribute directly to candidates, but instead devotes most of its money to attacking Republicans.

In the 2014 cycle, it reported spending over $43 million in independent expenditures opposing GOP candidates, and $3.3 million supporting Democratic candidates. In addition, it contributed over $10 million to an Alaska-based super PAC supporting then Sen. Mark Begich, which, in turn, spent over $9 million opposing Begich’s Republican rival, Dan Sullivan, who won the election anyway.

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.

The largest contributors to the PAC in 2014 — who each gave $5 million — were Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner’s Newsweb Corp.; billionaire mathematician and hedge-fund manager James H. Simons’ Euclidean Capital LLC; and San Francisco billionaire and climate-change activist Tom Steyer. (Steyer also founded and finances his own politically active advocacy group, NextGen Climate Action.)

In 2016, Democrats are defending only 10 seats while Republicans are defending 24. Republicans now hold a total of 54 Senate seats, so Democrats need a net gain of five to win a majority.

Fact-checking Senate Majority PAC:

Twisting Toomey’s Tax Record, May 20