Union-backed Super PAC targets GOP House members in ‘August offensive’

David Martosko Executive Editor
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On Friday a liberal political action committee whose top funders include three labor unions, the financier husband of a Democratic Maine congresswoman, and billionaire George Soros, announced the “second wave” of an ad blitz targeting House Republicans whose seats it considers “some of the most vulnerable” in 2012.

A statement from House Majority PAC, a so-called Super PAC that can accept unlimited contributions, says a six-figure ‘August offensive’ television ad campaign will target Republican Reps. Dan Lungren of California and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.

Rep. Duffy is a House freshman. Lungren has been a House member since 2005, and served five previous terms from 1979 to 1989.

House Majority PAC’s Federal Election Commission filings show that it has already spent more than $82,000 this month on similar ads targeting Republican Reps. Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Scott Tipton of Colorado and Chip Cravaack of Minnesota. The PAC has spent nearly $825,000 overall campaigning against Republican House members since April.

More than $388,000 of that total consisted of TV ads and automated “robo-calls” targeting Jane Corwin, the GOP congressional candidate in New York’s 26th District special election. That House seat was left vacant in February when Republican Rep. Chris Lee resigned. Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Corwin in a hotly contested race, partially on the strength of negative ads aimed at her Republican rival.

In an interview with Campaigns & Elections magazine published online Thursday, House Majority PAC executive director Alixandria Lapp said her organization “filed with the Federal Election Commission and were created in April of this year. A couple days later, we were on the air in 10 districts with radio ads against Republicans.”

Lapp explained in a statement Friday morning why the PAC was targeting Republicans more than a year before the 2012 elections. “The American people are disgusted with House Republicans’ misguided priorities and votes to sell out the middle class,” she said. “House Majority PAC will continue holding House Republicans accountable for their extremist agenda.”

Additional FEC filings filed by the PAC show that its biggest donor during its four months of operation has been the Service Employees International Union, which contributed $220,000 in May and June. SEIU 1199, a union local in New York City, added another $15,000. (RELATED: Democrats launch massive ad campaign against Republican Medicare position)

In May, AFSCME — the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, a member union of the AFL-CIO — contributed $200,000 on May 16. The Communications Workers of America gave $50,000 on May 20.

Billionaire financier George Soros, noted for his support of liberal causes, donated $75,000 on May 19. The biggest individual contributor is Donald Sussman, the billionaire hedge fund manager who gave $150,000 during April and May. Sussman married Maine Rep. Chelie Pingree, a Democrat, in June.

House Majority PAC’s ad targeting Rep. Lungren accuses him of supporting “tax cuts for millionaires” and “tax loopholes for big corporations,” and claims he voted in Congress to “end Medicare as we know it.”

Reached Thursday night, a Lungren spokesman said the congressman was performing his official duties by holding a town hall meeting in Elk Grove, Calif., and would have no comment about the ad campaign.

David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter