March 1, 2012; Source: The Bay Area Reporter
If you can’t beat the super PACs, launch one. That seems to be the theory of LGBT advocates who recently created the Pride PAC.
Spawned by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, a host of new political action committees, or super PACs, have unleashed a torrent of unrestricted funds in support of Republican presidential hopefuls. And as NPQ has previously noted, President Obama’s about face and grudging embrace of the super PAC system will now pour millions of dollars more into this year’s campaign season. The latest group to form its super PAC is the LGBT community.
Pride PAC, launched quietly last month, was founded by San Francisco residents Rose Dawydiak-Rapagnani, a straight LGBT ally, and Marcus Lovingood, a gay man. Dawydiak-Rapagnani and Lovingood, both in their twenties with Silicon Valley work experience, created the LGBT PAC to support Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign by harnessing the power of social media.
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In contrast to super PACs bankrolled by few wealthy individuals, Pride PAC is hoping to rally a larger donor base behind the incumbent in order to raise a million dollars by this summer.
“I don’t think in American history there has been a super PAC focused on civil rights. It is normally focused on special interests,” Dawydiak-Rapagnani told the Bay Area Reporter. “As we get closer to the election we want to show how powerful the LGBT community is. We can demonstrate that corporate America doesn’t lead; that is the status quo right now with the super PACs.”
Lovingood argues that the LGBT community has and will fare better under an Obama White House than under the yet-to-be-decided Republican alternative.
“He has done more for the LGBT community in the last four years than has been done in the past 20 years …We do have a champion in the White House,” he said. “He is fighting for us and he will continue to do so.” Pride PAC operates separately from Priorities USA, the super PAC founded by former Obama aides.
Super PACs have come under fire, in part, due to their ability to shield political donors from the public eye. On its online donation page, Pride PAC offers donors the ability to add their name to (or withhold their name from) the “Pride PAC activity stream” but notes that donation amounts will not be disclosed. – Erwin de Leon