Bloomberg PAC Independence USA Endorses Kelly

Washington Post has it.

The super PAC started by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) is putting its weight behind former state representative Robin Kelly in Illinois’s 2nd District special election, releasing a new ad that touts her stance on gun control and criticizes two of her opponents on the issue.

“Kelly will join President Obama to take on the NRA for effective background checks and to ban deadly assault weapons,” says the narrator of the ad. It’s the first time the organization, Independence USA PAC, has mentioned Kelly in a TV ad.

The group’s newest ad comes as Obama is set to discuss guns and other issues on Friday in his hometown of Chicago, a city that has been plagued by violence. The 2nd District covers the South Side of Chicago as well suburbs to the city’s south,

The spot also goes after two of Kelly’s main competitors in the crowded Democratic field — former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson — for receiving high marks from the National Rifle Association. The PAC has already spent over a million dollars on an ad campaign hitting Halvorson for her stance on guns.

“Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson both earned an A from the NRA. They can’t be trusted,” the narrator of the new spot says.

Every early indication was they would stay negative on Halvorson, but neutral between Hutchinson and Kelly.  I presume two things have changed–the sheer audacity of Hutchinson’s claims to have changed her mind and brag about doing something  for a couple weeks that Kelly did over 6 years ago and (again presuming) the polling came back suggesting that it wasn’t Kelly splitting the vote to give Halvorson a shot, but Hutchinson is at best in the position they thought Kelly was in early.

One thing I’ve been noticing are some complaints about why aren’t people complaining about the SuperPac aspect of Bloomberg’s efforts.  There are two reasons–one, I don’t believe in unilateral disarmament and having the industry trade association in the NRA funding campaigns has created an uneven playing field for years.  While many gun safety bills have majority support, there has not been a way of organizing a very disorganized majority compared to a well organized trade group funded by the industry.

Second, it’s not Citizen’s United that really applies here.  Bloomberg has formed his PAC, but he is reporting both donations and expenditures to the FEC.  I’d link to it, but the FEC web site sucks.  Second, it’s Baker v Carr Buckley v Valeo (fixed for stupidity) that’s more applicable.  Rich individuals have always been able to spend their own money on political issues without limits and Independence PAC has 1 Donor–Mike Bloomberg.  In other words, this isn’t a PAC as we used to think of them, this is an individual spending money on his own for his message while fully reporting that activity.  Most people think of Baker v Carr applying to self-funders only, but it also applied to individuals who wanted to run their own individual efforts to influence elections.