GOP-aligned super PAC to spend $11.9 million in Michigan in fight to keep House majority - TAI News
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A Chevron gas station in Los Angeles, Nov. 13, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via AP)

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), announced on May 22 that it will reserve $141 million in ads aimed at keeping Republican control of the chamber in November’s elections. The group has received tens of millions of dollars in funding from conservative billionaires and from the oil and gas industry, whose interests have been protected by congressional Republicans.

The outside spending group called the fall advertisements on television, digital platforms, and streaming its first wave. “This is a significant early down payment on Republicans holding the House Majority,” the group’s president, Dan Conston, said in a press release.

Included in that total is $5.1 million for ads in the Detroit media market, $4.5 million for Lansing, and $2.3 million for Flint. An analysis by the progressive site Daily Kos found that those areas cover three competitive House districts: open seats held by Democrats in the 7th and 8th districts and vulnerable first-term Republican Rep. John James’ 10th District seat. The results of those races will help determine majority control in the House in 2025.

The super PAC has not posted its ads yet. Its filings with the Federal Election Commission indicate that it has received nearly $20 million from its dark money affiliate group American Action Network, $10 million each from conservative billionaires Timothy Mellon and Jeff Yass, and $5 million from billionaire GOP megadonor Ken Griffin.

It also accepted more than $10 million in contributions from oil and gas companies and trade groups. Those include $1.5 million from Chevron, $1.25 million from Valero, $1.25 million from Koch Industries, $1 million from Occidental Petroleum, $1 million from ConocoPhillips, $1 million from Devon Energy, and $1 million from the American Petroleum Institute.

Since the 2020 elections, Democrats and Republicans in the House have differed greatly on policies impacting the richest Americans and fossil fuel companies.

In May 2022, 217 Democratic representatives voted to pass the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Act, a bill that would have made it illegal for fuel companies to manipulate energy markets and overcharge consumers. The vote came as energy prices spiked amid record profits for oil and gas companies. All 203 Republicans present voted no; the bill never got a vote in the Senate. 

That August, all 220 Democrats voted for President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which was enacted and made historic investments in affordable clean energy, lowered health care costs for millions of Americans, and cracked down on wealthy tax cheats. Every House Republican opposed the legislation.

During the 2022 campaign, the Congressional Leadership Fund spent more than $260 million to elect Republicans to the House, bankrolled by many of the same individuals and fossil fuel interests. Among their ads were spots falsely claiming vulnerable House Democrats had hiked taxes for middle- and lower-income Americans. 

Since winning a narrow majority in the 2022 midterm elections, House Republicans have pushed to repeal most of the Inflation Reduction Act, roll back environmental and safety regulations governing oil and gas companies, eliminate methane emissions fees, and require the federal government to allow more fossil fuel drilling on public lands. These efforts have been blocked by the Democratic majority in the Senate and by President Joe Biden.

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