Ron Johnson Launches Statewide Ad Hitting Feingold Over 'Slush Fund' PAC

October 28, 2016

Sen. Ron Johnson's (R., Wis.) reelection campaign launched a new television advertisement this week hitting his Democratic opponent Russ Feingold over a political action committee he founded that has been referred to as a "legalized slush fund."

The ad will run across Wisconsin up until Election Day and focuses on Feingold's Progressives United PAC, a political action committee founded in 2011 by the former senator after being defeated by Johnson. The advertisement quotes four articles dealing with the PAC's operations, including one from the Washington Free Beacon.

Feingold, who put himself on the forefront of campaign finance reform during his time in Congress, launched the Progressives United PAC with the goal of helping progressive candidates running for office.

Most of the PAC's expenditures, however, did not go to candidates. Instead, the money padded the pockets of longtime aides to the former senator and even paid Feingold himself. In all, the PAC gave just five percent of all of its expenditures to candidates while his staff pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The PAC has been referred to as a "shadow campaign" by Johnson and his staff. Vendors for Feingold's campaign have paid Progressives United $50,000 for its email lists, the Free Beacon previously reported.

Paul Jossey, a campaign finance expert critical of both Democratic and Republican PACs, called Progressives United a "legalized slush fund."