Pro-Begich group off to slow start

A super-PAC focused on helping Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is off to a slow start, having failed to raise any money so far.

The Put Alaska First Political Action Committee, a group run by a former Begich donor whose aim is to help candidates of both parties, including Begich, failed to file paperwork on its midyear report, a basic requirement with the Federal Election Commission.

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Its founder, political consultant Jim Lottsfeldt, said he didn't know he had to file paperwork as the group hasn't started raising money. The organization was formed in early May and is required to report how much it has raised through July 1.

"We haven't raised any money yet and I thought I didn't have to file anything until we'd gotten going, so I'll have to check into that," Lottsfeldt told The Hill when asked about a warning letter from the FEC.

Lottsfeldt says the group is now lining up donors and will "have something to report" at the next quarterly filing deadline.

Lottsfeldt, who has helped Begich and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), formed the PAC to advocate for candidates focused on Alaskan issues rather than national ones. Lottsfeldt said he's committed to helping Begich and could get involved in the congressional race as well. But with little to report so far, it's unclear whether the organization will be a real player in 2012.

Begich has more than $2 million in the bank for the race, while his opponents have gotten off to slow starts. But the state is likely to see a huge influx of outside spending from both sides — Begich is a major GOP target this election cycle.

When asked if his goal remained raising $3 million to $5 million for the group, as he'd said in late June, he responded "I guess so." That goal is based on matching the level of outside group spending seen in other small states in past years, like Montana.

"I've never done the super-PAC business, I'm just looking at what happened in Montana [in 2012], which has a similar population and Republican bent. With how much money was spent there, that seems like a good baseline to aim for," he said. 

"I'm confident that we're going to have a good showing. How it all gets quantified in the end is a little bit of a mystery to me. Once Labor Day comes people, the donors, are starting to focus more and more on this stuff."