Political Action Committees are viewed as great benefactors, or as the bane of politics.  It just depends upon whom you talk to.

Political Action Committees (PAC's) are non-profit organizations created to help support candidates or legislation that a group or business considers favorable to their cause.   For example,  there are PAC's for just about every industry in the U.S.

Some view them as "lobbyists", who try to persuade legislators to sponsor or support certain types of policy or legislation.   Most commonly though, PAC's contribute political funds towards candidates they support.  They can be useful in helping formulate  positive policy favorable to business growth, or can be used to unfairly sway legislation not wanted by voters.

In the 4th District Congressional race, PAC's have contributed to both Clint Didier and Dan Newhouse.    By far, Newhouse has the most PAC money.  According to the Federal Election Commission's disclosure site,  the former Washington State Agriculture Director has received over $144,000 from 52 different PAC's since the August primary.

The PAC's contributing to Newhouse include:

  • Croplife American (Washington DC)
  • Farm Credit Council (DC)
  • Frozen Foods PAC (DC)
  • National Cattlemen's Beef Association PAC (DC)
  • DuPont Good Government Fund (DC)
  • Boeing Co PAC (VA)
  • Michigan Sugar Growers PAC (Michigan)
  • American Medical Association PAC (DC)
  • Lead Your Nation Now PAC  (Based out of Kansas)

Didier has largely relied upon regional donations,  according to the Yakima Herald-Republic, over $219,000 raised from citizens and small non-PAC groups.   The Herald-Republic reported in July Newhouse was far ahead in receiving PAC money for his campaign.  According to the latest data, Didier has received less than $20,000 in PAC money.

Didier's PAC money includes:

  • SarahPAC (Sarah Palin)
  • National Association for Gun Rights PAC
  • Ron Paul's Liberty PAC
  • American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons PAC

According to the website OpenSecrets.org,   many of Newhouse's PAC supporters often split their contributions evenly between Democratic and Republican candidates.   According to OpenSecrets,  Didier's PAC supporters - including SarahPAC and Ron Paul's Liberty PAC,  donate 100% of their money to GOP or conservative candidates.

Some say Newhouse's money comes from his former positive work and ties with the agricultural industry as State Agriculture Director.   Others say it's the result of him being the establishment candidate - part of the GOP 'machine' which Didier has tried to distance himself from.

By far the most interesting, and controversial PAC to emerge recently has been the group led by former Senator Slade Gorton (R).   His group, Washington's Future,  kicked of a $55,000 negative radio and TV campaign, in which they label Didier as "weird and extreme" for his political views.

There's been no official comment from the Newhouse camp on this PAC, but that's not unusual.  Often, candidates are "independently" supported by PAC's they don't seek out for support.

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