Club for Growth eyes new political fund for expenditures in Nevada, other states

The Club for Growth is planning to set up a new political committee to make hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of independent expenditures in Nevada and other battleground states.

The Club has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for permission to set up a new political fund that could raise and spend unlimited contributions from individual donors in key states.

David Keating, executive director of the Club, said the request “probably” signals his organization will take a more active role in the midterm elections.

“You never know until you ask for money whether people will give it,” he said. “We’ve never asked people to give money for independent expenditures.”

The Club, which is organized as an advocacy group under section 501(c)4 of the tax code, has made independent expenditures in political races before now but has funded them from its general account.

By setting up a special political fund, the Club can let its donors know their gifts will be used specifically for independent expenditures.

The pro-tax relief, anti-government growth group played an important role in the primary defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). The Club spent about $175,000 to knock him off the GOP primary ballot, most of it through its 501(c)4 organization.

The Club also controls a political action committee.

Keating said the Club will back the winner of the Nevada Senate Republican primary against Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Nevada New Members 2019 Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time MORE (D-Nev.).

The group will also back Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillary advisers battle over whether she’ll run in 2020 Rubio defends '3 point kick' analogy: 'You think everyone who follows politics knows what a field goal is?' Lawmakers to introduce bipartisan bill targeting China's treatment of Muslims MORE, the conservative Republican candidate for Senate in Florida, and former Rep. Pat Toomey (R), who is running for Senate in Pennsylvania.

Carol Laham, an attorney for the Club, argued in a request to the FEC that two recent court decisions cleared the way for it to set up a new political fund for independent expenditures.

She cited the March 26 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in v. FEC and the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

“In the wake of Citizens United and, we seek confirmation the Club may establish and administer an independent expenditures-only political committee that will register and report all of its activities while soliciting donations from the general public and soliciting funds earmarked for specific independent expenditures,” Laham wrote.