Emergency Committee for Israel ad
Incitement? This follows the last ad from the ECI, which said that Obama was treating Israel like a punching bag and Bill Kristol said we’re going to punch back.
Here are excerpts from the Forward. Note that Jeremy Ben-Ami says that ECI is getting its money from a disgruntled group of hedgefund billionaires. He would seem to mean Daniel Loeb, a former California surfer, and Jonathon Jacobson, in the list that comes up at the Federal Elections Commission. But note that a CBS lawyer, Howard Jaeckel, is also funding this outfit.
As of the latest available filings, there are only about 200 Super PACs, officially known as independent expenditure-only committees. Only one besides ECI’s appears to deal with Israel policy. That group, called US Israel Friendship PAC, was created to run advertisements in support of California Democrat Barbara Boxer in her 2010 senatorial race. Sam Lauter, a California political affairs professional whose name appears on the group’s filings with the Federal Elections Commission, said that it had no plans to be active in the 2012 cycle.
Between the formation of ECI PAC in October 2010 and the end of that year, the Super PAC raised $152,000. During the 2010 midterm elections, the group spent $40,000 on airtime for advertisements opposing Joe Sestak, the Democratic candidate for senator in Pennsylvania who eventually lost to Pat Toomey; $37,000 on airtime for advertisements opposing Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democratic congressman who won his re-election fight; and $37,000 on airtime for advertisements opposing John Tierney, a Massachusetts Democratic congressman who also won re-election….
Between May 2010 and April 2011, ECI’s separate but affiliated 501(c)(4) raised over $700,000, according to tax filings the group provided to the Forward. As a 501(c)(4), ECI is not required to report on its political expenditures to the same level of detail as ECI PAC, but the organization notes that it ran five advertisements in July and August 2010 “that called on members of the public to contact their elected representatives — who were standing for re-election in the November 2010 election — and tell them to support a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.”
ECI’s 501(c)(4) also ran an advertisement during the September 2011 special election in New York to replace Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner. The group spent $25,000 on the distribution of an advertisement in support of Bob Turner, whose eventual victory was cast by some Republicans as a referendum on Obama’s Israel record….
Instead, ECI appears to draw support from a small number of wealthy donors. Only five individuals have given to ECI PAC. And in its 2010 fiscal year, five individuals provided all but a few thousand dollars of ECI’s 501(c)(4) revenue. The 501(c)(4) is not required to name its donors, so it is unclear whether there is overlap between the two groups of supporters.
“They clearly have the ability to raise large sums of money from a very small number of disgruntled hedge fund billionaires,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president. “But they don’t have the ability to demonstrate a broad base of activist support of thousands and tens of thousands of people all across the country who want to signal their support on this issue for their views.”
NON-FEDERAL RECEIPTS “EXEMPT FROM LIMITS”
JACOBSON, JONATHON MR. WAYLAND MA 01778 10/14/2010 50,000.00 HIGHFIELDS CAPITAL/CO-FOUNDER
JAECKEL, HOWARD MR. NEW YORK NY 10021 10/20/2010 500.00 CBS CORPORATION/LAWYER
LOEB, DANIEL MR. NEW YORK NY 10023 10/12/2010 50,000.00 THIRD POINT MANAGEMENT/CHIEF EXECU
LOEB, DANIEL MR. NEW YORK NY 10023 10/21/2010 50000.00 THIRD POINT MANAGEMENT
SILVER, ALLAN BOWIE MD 20715 10/22/2010 1000.00 NONE/RETIRED
VIOLIN, GEORGE MR. WELLINGTON FL 33414 10/14/2010 500.00 SELF/DOCTOR