Pro-Murphy super PAC created in Conn. Senate race
HARTFORD, Conn.—A group of Connecticut residents, led by a state Capitol lobbyist, announced Monday they've formed a super PAC to support Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy in his U.S. Senate race and help him combat a possible attack from wealthy Republican Linda McMahon.
Chris VanDeHoef, the chairman of "Connecticut's Future PAC," said he hopes to raise about $1 million. That money, he said, will be spent on advertising to "keep whoever is running against (Murphy) from distorting his record."
VanDeHoef said he's particularly concerned about McMahon, the former CEO of WWE, formerly known as
Murphy, meanwhile, is facing a primary challenge from former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
"Linda McMahon is her own super PAC," VanDeHoef said. "We're just concerned that Linda McMahon is once again trying to buy a U.S. Senate seat."
According to McMahon's filing with the Federal Elections Commission, released Monday by the campaign, she lent her campaign nearly $6 million between April 29 and June 30, for a total of nearly $8.2 million.
Tim Murtaugh, McMahon's campaign spokesman, criticized Murphy for the formation of the super PAC.
"This is not surprising from a professional politician like Chris Murphy. This has been set up so he can take money from special interests and fat cat lobbyists," he said in a statement. "It's pretty obvious that the good old boy network will do whatever they can to protect one of their own. Linda's allegiance is to the people of Connecticut, not a bunch of insiders who will be looking for favors later."
Super PACS are allowed under a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and can accept unlimited sums. While they have played a major role in the presidential race, they have not yet become a major factor in Connecticut politics.
VanDeHoef, a personal friend of Murphy's who lives in Bloomfield, said the 5th Congressional District congressman did not ask him to create the PAC. He is being joined by Jeff Garfield, the former executive director and general counsel of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, who will serve as the fundraising committee's assistant treasurer and Connecticut counsel. Kevin Graff of Glastonbury, a former chief of staff to the state Senate Democrats, will serve as president. Attorney Joseph Taborsak, a state representative from Danbury, will serve as treasurer.
The PAC's priorities include ending partisan gridlock in Washington, growing jobs and ensuring access to high quality education and health care for all.
Under the rules, the PAC is not allowed to coordinate or collude with the campaign over strategy or expenses, VanDeHoef said. The PAC filed paperwork with the FEC earlier this month and has retained attorneys in both Connecticut and Washington to make sure it is compliant with federal campaign finance laws. VanDeHoef said the committee also plans to exceed federal requirements by publicly disclosing all donors and expenditures.