Brewer forms federal PAC to help elect others like her - East Valley Tribune: Immigration

Brewer forms federal PAC to help elect others like her

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Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 4:37 pm | Updated: 4:40 pm, Tue Nov 8, 2011.

Jan Brewer is moving to parlay her increasing national reputation into cold hard cash she can spread around to change Congress.

The governor has set up a federal political action committee. That will allow her to take donations from both individuals and corporations, pooling the cash and then using it to help elect those who Brewer likes - or defeat those she does not.

And with a federal court last year throwing out limits on donations, there is no cap on how much Jan PAC - the organization's formal name - can take from any source nor how much it can spend to get someone elected. The only restriction is that whatever the governor decides cannot be coordinated with any candidate.

There is, however, a requirement for quarterly disclosure of donors and beneficiaries.

Brewer told Capitol Media Services that the decision to wade into financing campaigns is a direct outgrowth of Brewer's high-profile role over the issues of illegal immigration and border security.

"I think it's important that we change the flavor in Washington, D.C.," she said. "I think that I could be a big participant in having that happen. If we don't do it here, who's going to do it?"

It also is a direct result of Brewer's jet-setting across the country to speak to Republican groups as well as promote her book which deals with the same issues.

"People have asked me if I had a PAC and they would want to contribute," she said. "I thought about it for awhile and I thought, why not?"

While Brewer has been focused on illegal immigration, the governor said that her decision on whether to support or oppose any particular federal candidate will be based on more than that.

"We have an out-of-control government," she said. Brewer said she wants federal lawmakers who oppose the federal health care plan and will support policies that she believes will help create jobs.

This won't be Brewer's first foray into trying to translate national interest in the issue into dollars and cents.

Brewer set up a defense fund last year, after the Obama administration filed suit to overturn SB 1070, billed at the time as the toughest law in the country aimed at illegal immigrants. A federal judge has agreed to block key provisions of the law, with a federal appellate court agreeing.

The governor now is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intercede and has hired former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to plead that case. She agreed to pay him $150,000 just to prepare the petition before the high court; if the justices agree, his fee will be adjusted upward.

The most recent numbers put total donations at $3.8 million and expenses slightly above $2 million. But that includes billings only through the end of July.

But the governor said she does not believe the latest fundraising effort will undermine the defense fund.

"People are so giving," she said. And Brewer said donations continue to trickle in for the defense fund, with the governor saying she even got an unsolicited $200 check Monday night after talking about her book at the Reagan presidential library in California.

Brewer is hoping to jump start the donations by offering anyone who gives at least $100 a copy of her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast."

"It's going to be signed - if they want it signed," the governor said. And her website accepts donations by both credit card and electronic check.

Brewer would not be the first Arizona governor to form her own federal PAC.

Janet Napolitano set up Competitive Edge PAC in 2007 as she was eyeing her own political future. That ended up taking care of itself when Barack Obama, newly elected as president in 2008, chose the Arizona governor to head the Department of Homeland Security.

But in its brief existence of less than two years, Napolitano's PAC managed to collect and distribute more than $400,000 to candidates for federal congressional offices.

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