An Updated Look at Super PACs and the Alabama U.S. Senate Runoff
Political operatives, national level politicians and wealthy businessmen attempt to influence state elections via Super PACs (Political Action Committees). It is not easy for the average voter to tell who is providing the support. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Mr. (Mitch) McConnell, and Mr. (Richard) Shelby have directed millions of dollars to groups helping Ms. Britt”. That would be Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Katie Britt.
But it is more complicated than just one Super PAC supporting, or opposing, a candidate. Money can get passed from one Super PAC to another. The Wall Street Journal article adds that the Mitch McConnell aligned “Senate Leadership Fund donated $2 million in early April to a super PAC called Alabama's Future” and “Mr. Shelby's leadership PAC, Defend America, gave $2.5 million in early May to another super PAC, Alabama Christian Conservatives”.
If you are thinking that the Alabama Christian Conservatives PAC is based in Alabama, you would be wrong.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) forms, the PAC has an Austin, TX. address. The contact email for Alabama Christian Conservatives listed on FEC forms is a Gober Group email. The Gober Group is a national law firm with offices in Austin, TX. and Arlington, VA (Washington DC area).
This does not mean that all of the donors contributing to Super PACs involved in the Alabama races are from outside the state of Alabama as some have many in-state donors. Donors, along with their home states, can usually be found on the FEC website.
The largest funded Super PAC in Alabama recently has been the Alabama’s Future PAC, a pro Britt group. Their total donor receipts though May 4th were $7.1 million. They only had four donors – Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, Great Southern Wood founder and Auburn University Trustee Jimmy Rane, Arkansas billionaire Warren Stephens, and Huntsville businessman Francisco Collazo.
An Alabama's Future PAC TV ad that stated Mo Brooks "voted to cut off funding to destroy ISIS terrorists in the middle of the fight" was called "Mostly False" by Politifact.
Katie Britt has also benefited from other Super PACs. According to their FEC Statement of Organization forms, Alabama RINO PAC, uses the same address on their FEC forms as Alabama Christian Conservatives. No More Mo PAC uses a Birmingham, AL PO Box for their address and uses a McLean, VA bank (Washington DC area). Alabama Conservatives Fund PAC uses a Birmingham, AL address with a McLean, VA bank. Secure Our Freedom Action Fund PAC uses an Alexandria, VA (Washington DC area) PO Box as their main address and a Custodian of Records address in Birmingham, AL. Got it?
A closer look at Alabama Conservatives Fund PAC reveals that the tenant for their 3rd Avenue North, Birmingham, AL address is listed as being Crosby Ottenhoff Group LLC. They also are listed as the tenant of the suite next door that Secure Our Freedom Action Fund PAC used as a Custodian of Funds address on their FEC form. Crosby Ottenhoff Group is not listed on the FEC forms, just the name of an individual who is registered as an accountant with the state of Alabama. Caleb Crosby and Benjamin Ottenhoff are well known in Republican politics.
The Alabama Conservatives Fund website shows Dalton Dismukes as Executive Director, but lists no address. The website indicates that they are "an Alabama-based organization". The FEC website shows that over 25% of their donors are from out of state.
Katie Britt's runoff opponent, Rep. Mo Brooks, has benefited from Super PAC Club for Growth, one of the largest Super PACs in the country. He also received support from the Courageous Conservatives PAC, which uses an email address of Liz Curtis and Associates on their FEC form, a Marlton, NJ based firm.
But Super PACs supporting Mo Brooks (or opposing his opponents) have only spent about half that of the Super PACs supporting Katie Britt. Super PACs supporting Katie Britt (or opposing her opponents) have spent about $10.1 million while pro Mo Brooks Super PACs have spent about $5.4 million.
According to Opensecrets.com, during the 2022 election cycle, Katie Britt has been the 7th largest beneficiary of Super PAC money of the twenty-one non-incumbent U.S Senate candidates. She has also been the 4th largest Republican non-incumbent U.S. Senate candidate funds beneficiary in the country, out of thirteen. The Republicans topping Britt’s Super PAC primary election support were Herchel Walker (GA), Dave McCormick (PA), and Jane Timken (OH).
Months of Super PAC ads for this Alabama U.S. Senate primary race will conclude when voters go to the polls on June 21st.