Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Shadowy group spends big in the Eighth

Super PAC known as Progress Tomorrow pours over $150,000 into primary contest to back Radinovich

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 8/9/18

REGIONAL— With its newfound status as a congressional swing district, the battle for the Eighth District this fall is sure to attract millions of dollars from outside political action committees, …

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Shadowy group spends big in the Eighth

Super PAC known as Progress Tomorrow pours over $150,000 into primary contest to back Radinovich

Posted

REGIONAL— With its newfound status as a congressional swing district, the battle for the Eighth District this fall is sure to attract millions of dollars from outside political action committees, or super PACS, that hope to determine the outcome of the Nov. 6 general election.

Yet even this year’s DFL primary battle has attracted big money, primarily from a newly-formed super-PAC known as Progress Tomorrow, which has poured more than $150,000 into the primary contest, all of it in support of Crosby DFLer Joe Radinovich. Just over $120,000 has been used to finance an extensive direct mail campaign to likely DFL primary voters, while another $30,000 has gone to online advertising. Radinovich is one of only two candidates that the super PAC has supported since its founding on June 28. That's according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

Super PACs like Progress Tomorrow can spend unlimited amounts of money in support of candidates as long as they don’t coordinate their activities with the campaigns of candidates they support.

The Radinovich campaign denied any connection to the organization and decried the intrusion of outside money into the race. “Ending the corrosive influence of dark money in politics is a cornerstone of our campaign,” said Radinovich in a statement.

Radinovich has called for a constititional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has further opened the floodgates to big money in political races. “That is precisely why I refuse corporate PAC contributions and have been endorsed by End Citizens United,” said Radinovich. “Unfortunately, this is not the first and probably not the last independent expenditure we’ll see in the Eighth.”

The motivations or political leanings of Progress Tomorrow aren’t clear, although the individuals behind the funding of the organization are generally considered centrist and pro-military. The group was founded on June 28 with reported funding from just two sources, both of them super PACs themselves. About $730,000 came from the group United Together, while the group Forward Not Back contributed $619,000.

Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch is the largest single contributor to United Together, having donated $500,000 of the $1.35 million the group has reported raising this election cycle. Other major contributors include Chicago White Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan Selig.

Forward Not Back reported raising $1.576 million this cycle, most of it from principal owners of large Wall Street hedge and venture capital funds.

United Together also spent nearly a million dollars this year opposing Marie Newman, a progressive challenger to Mark Lipinski, a co-chair of the Blue Dogs caucus and one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. Lipinski narrowly beat off Newman’s progressive challenge in his Illinois House district.

Forward Not Back was heavily involved in a New Mexico congressional race, pouring almost $300,000 into the race to back Albuquerque attorney Damon Martinez for an open congressional seat. The group also spent just under $20,000 to oppose former New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland, who was vying to become the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Despite the substantial expenditures in support of her opponent, Haaland easily won that race back in June and is widely-considered the favorite to win the seat.

The two super PACs appear to be affiliated with a coalition of eight organizations, that operate under the auspices of No Labels, an organization that supports centrist candidates on both sides of the aisle. According to The Hill, “No Labels is planning an aggressive effort to spend tens of millions of dollars to protect moderates in both parties from primary challenges, in an attempt to give incumbents incentives not to cater to the party grass roots who typically dominate primary contests.” 

Independent Joe Lieberman and Jon Huntsman, a Republican and President Trump’s current ambassador to Russia, are the national leaders for the No Labels organization. Combined, the eight super PACs connected to No Labels have raised more than $9.8 million in itemized individual donations, primarily from five- and six-figure donors. No Labels is also affiliated with super PACs that back moderate Republicans and candidates who favor increased military spending.

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snowshoe2

interesting read

Friday, August 10
Barbara Millard

Thank you for this information. I just subscribed to your on line paper so I could read this. Please continue this important work.

Saturday, August 11
Lee Peterson

Dismaying, isn't it?

Progress Tomorrow and these other super PACs are not friends of the Joe Radinovich Campaign. They are out to hurt Radinovich's campaign. The oversized mailers are meant to upset people. So are their strange "push-polling" phone calls.

Because of the Citizens United decision and other NRA/Republican legislation, Candidates cannot prevent these PACs from doing these dirty tricks. Sad.

Note the disclaimer on each of these super PAC mailings: "Paid for by Progress Tomorrow, Inc. and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee." I can guarantee you that this type of B.S. will not end under NRA/Republican control of OUR government.....

I think was a mistake to say that what these super PACs are doing is truly in "support of Crosby DFLer Joe Radinovich". That doesn't even make sense. It reminds me of what an old political friend told me: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!"

These are right wing NRA/Republican super PACs. They are not liberal or even moderate. Not by any means. And they have an agenda. It's not in favor of working class Americans. That's why they're afraid of Joe Radinovich. I'm voting for Radinovich.

Sunday, August 12