Super PAC to Reserve $23 Million for Reelection of Dem Senator Endorsed by End Citizens United

Sen. Bill Nelson / Twitter
June 21, 2018

Senate Majority PAC, a Democrat-aligned super PAC backed by some of the nation’s most wealthy liberals, is reserving $23 million in air time for the reelection campaign of Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), who has railed against money in politics and is being endorsed by the End Citizens United PAC.

The Tampa Bay Times reported on Wednesday that the super PAC would be spending $23 million on air time beginning Oct. 2 and running through Election Day, prompting his Republican opponent Gov. Rick Scott (Fla.) to issue a fundraising alert off the $23 million figure.

"If you weren't able to donate yesterday – please reconsider. This is a significant shakeup in the race, and we need your help now more than ever,"the alert read.

Nelson has railed against money in politics for several years and has previously slammed the Citizens United Supreme Court decision for "corrupting our democracy," but his campaign will benefit from a group that allows billionaires and special interests to spend unlimited amounts of money on Senate races. While Nelson's campaign cannot legally coordinate with the super PAC, there are loopholes around the Federal Election Commission (FEC) laws.

J.B. Poersch, an ally of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) was tapped last March as the president of the super PAC, according to the Hill.

"This mission is more important than ever if Democrats are going to have necessary numbers to fight the Trump agenda," Persch said last year. "we need a comprehensive [independent expenditure] effort that includes television, digital and grassroots effort to combat the GOP's 'dark money' cash advantage."

Camille Gallo, a spokeswoman at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, slammed Nelson as a "hypocritical career politician."

"Bill Nelson is nothing more than a hypocritical career politician," Gallo said. "If Nelson is so horrified by dark money in campaigns, he’d tell Chuck Schumer to take a hike and spend his millions elsewhere."

Nelson's reelection bid was endorsed in July 2017 by End Citizens United, a PAC focused on getting big money out of politics and electing campaign finance reform candidates. In their endorsement press release, they said that "few have voiced their opposition to the flood of money in elections as loud as Nelson."

"Senator Nelson understands that the disastrous Citizens United decision put a price tag on our elections, putting our government in the hands of the highest bidders. That’s exactly why he has consistently fought for more transparency and disclosure in our elections,"said Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United.

Nelson released a statement at the time, saying that Congress had a "moral obligation to correct what has happened to corrupt our system."

"The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to dark money in campaigns. The undisclosed, unlimited money that’s now influencing political campaigns is corrupting our democracy," said Nelson last July. "The American people have a right to know who they are voting for – not just whose name is on the ballot, but who is financing the candidate. And I believe Congress has a moral obligation to correct what has happened to corrupt our system."

The press secretary for End Citizens United did not return a request for comment.