Like most high profile politicians, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has a leadership PAC. His is titled Reclaim America, and has the stated purpose of ;"supporting candidates just like [Rubio] all across the country that will go to Washington to make a real difference for America's future."
Unlike most pol's leadership PACs, and contrary to the stated purpose, most of the money raised by the PAC doesn't actually go to supporting other candidates.
According to the National Journal, Reclaim America spent $1.5 million dollars between July 2011 and mid-October of this year.
So how much of that went to supporting other candidates? Just $68,427.
Most of the money ($447,360) went to paying consultants. That's $20 doled out to a consultant to every $1 given to a campaign.
The average leadership PAC gives 46 percent of the money it spends to other candidates. Rubio's just gave 4.5 percent, lower than all but a very small handful of politicians.
Rubio's give rate "tells me he is using it as a political slush fund, most interested in advancing his political ambitions, and maybe his strategists have determined that giving to other candidates is not the best way to do that," said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.
While campaign committees can't be used for personal purposes, there are few restrictions on leadership PACs. "You can pay for your country club fees out of a leadership PAC,'' said Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics. "It's a game without rules."
A Rubio aide retorted that most of the money is used to allow Rubio to host or attend events that raise money directly for the campaigns. That doesn't really explain all that consultant money though.
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Usually pols use their leadership PACs to help curry favor with their colleagues. Want a plum leadership position in the House or Senate? It sure helps if you gave money to the people who will be voting for you to get that job.
Rubio however appears to be using his PAC to travel to political events and fundraisers across the country. Sure, that may help him raise money for candidates, but it also helps him meet potential donors and voters for whatever he might have in mind down the road.