Super PAC Profile: Congressional Leadership Fund (Norm Coleman, Fred Malek, et al.)
Type of organization: Super PAC
Supports candidate: Republican
Founded: October 21, 2011
- Norm Coleman (chairman): Coleman, Republican, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002 and served one term before narrowly losing to Democrat Al Franken after an extended recount fight. He is also chairman of the related nonprofit American Action Network.
- Brian Walsh (president): As former political director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Walsh helped the GOP take over the House in 2010. Walsh serves as president of the American Action Network.
- Fred Malek (adviser): Malek, a former aide to President Richard Nixon, sits on the board of the Congressional Leadership Fund. He is also a founder of the American Action Network, as well as the chairman of the American Action Forum, AAN’s associated 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
- Vin Weber (adviser): A former Republican congressman from Minnesota, Weber served served from 1981 to 1993. He is currently a partner at the lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.
Created as a conservative counterweight to the Democrat’s House Majority PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund was formed in October 2011 to focus “solely and exclusively on maintaining the Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” according to the group’s website.
The lion’s share of the $6.5 million raised by the Congressional Leadership Fund through June 30 — $5 million — came from 79-year-old casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, in February.
Overall, Adelson and his family members have contributed nearly $38 million to super PACs in the 2012 election cycle, the Center’s research shows.
Likewise, Texas homebuilder Bob Perry — the third-largest donor to super PACs this cycle — donated $1 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund in April.
On Sept. 14, the group made its first independent expenditure — $558,000 in television ads opposing incumbent Rep. Betty Sutton D-Ohio. The group has pledged to spend $1 million to link Sutton to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif., Politico reported.
The Congressional Leadership Fund is the super PAC arm of American Action Network, a nonprofit that spent more than $18 million on ads aimed at electing Republicans in the 2010 elections. The groups share personnel and office space in Washington, D.C., according to Federal Election Commission filings.
American Action Network is not required to disclose its donors, but IRS documents indicate it has received funds from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the American Natural Gas Alliance and Crossroads GPS.
- “Sutton Works for Pelosi,” links Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, to California Rep. Nancy Pelosi and slams the incumbent for her support of the health care reform law.
- “Look,” is an ad attacking the record of Texas state Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, who is challenging Republican Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco for U.S. House in Texas’s 23rd District.