PAC dollars flow into Welch campaign

originally published here.

PAC dollars flow into Welch campaign
Nancy Remsen, Free Press Staff Writer 6:26 p.m. EDT October 27, 2014

Since Oct. 1, the re-election campaign of Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., has received $19,050 from political action committees — bringing his total take from political committees to $730,000 for this election, according to recent reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Welch’s PAC money amounts to nearly twice the $384,768 that individuals have donated to his campaign.

Welch, who is seeking his fifth term in Congress, has mountains more money than any of his five challengers. His pre-election report from last Thursday listed that he had $1.68 million in cash. He recently donated $47,600 to the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee to help other of his colleagues.

“I think it is accurate to say his campaign is funded by special interests,” said Jerry Trudell, the energy independence candidate on the ballot. He said he has “no financing whatsoever” to help spread his message.

“Money is used to buy advertising,” Trudell said, which is why he would like to see public funding of elections so every candidate has an equal opportunity to speak to voters. He added that if the media paid more attention to candidates other than Republicans and Democrats, “it would do a lot of good even without any public finance.”

SEE ALSO: Republican tries again to unseat Welch

Only one other candidate challenging Welch in this election files with the FEC. Candidates are required to file if they raise or spend $5,000. Republican Mark Donka reported a total of $3,800 in contributions in his most recent report.

Welch has spoken out against the corrosive effect of money on politics and the democratic process in the United States. His campaign website notes that he has introduced constitutional amendments to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that allows corporation, unions and wealthy individuals to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns as long as they do it independent of candidates.

Those expenditures are different from the political committee contributions that show up on candidates’ reporting forms.

Welch also was one of 52 co-sponsors of a 2013 bill to allow public financing of federal elections. Under the bill, introduced by a Kentucky Democrat, candidates would have to raise $50,000 in donations no greater than $100 from 1,500 donors in their home states to qualify for public financing.

With the public financing bill yet to gain political traction, Welch has run his Congressional campaigns the old-fashioned way with financial support from individuals and political committees with a host of interests.

Organizations and individuals contribute to Welch for many reasons, said Jon Copans, Welch’s campaign manager. He suggested that Welch’s supporters “recognize the need for his practical, Vermont-style leadership in Congress.”

The political action committees that added their dollars in October to Welch’s already-overflowing campaign war chest have diverse interests and included:

• American Veterinary Medicine PAC ($1,000 recently and $2,000 total)

• National Beer Wholesalers Association ($2,500 recently and $7,500 total).

• Aetna PAC ($2,500)

• NEA Fund for Children and Public Education ($3,000 recently and $4,000 total)

• And two telecommunications PACs, Atlantic Tele Network PAC and TMobile PAC (both making $1,000 donations recently and $2,000 total)

Contact Nancy Remsen at 578-5685 or nremsen@freepressmedia.com. Follow Nancy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nancybfp

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