© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Empire Strikes PAC And Other Punny SuperPAC Names

B.E.A.R.D. PAC is a nonpartisan superPAC that supports bearded candidates nationwide.
Courtesy of B.E.A.R.D. PAC
B.E.A.R.D. PAC is a nonpartisan superPAC that supports bearded candidates nationwide.

This post was updated at 4:30 p.m. ET with comment from Xavier the cat's human.

Because superPACs aren't legally allowed to donate money directly to or coordinate with a political campaign, founders often give them patriotic but purposefully vague names. There's Keep the Promise (supporting Ted Cruz), Opportunity and Freedom (Perry), Priorities USA Action (Clinton), and Pursuing America's Greatness (Huckabee).

SuperPACs can raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, individuals, and other associations and can spend freely to support or oppose a given candidate.

But not every superPAC aims for a serious name or even a serious platform. The threshold to legally form such a committee is low enough that many Americans have formed their own superPACs for a small platform, as a joke, or to make a statement about superPACs themselves, like comedian Stephen Colbert did in 2011 with Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

"I see publicizing the superPACs with a satirical streak as a way of keeping some level of public attention on the issue that these superPACs exist at all, are so easy to form, and have a variety of poorly-understood legal tricks at their disposal which can be and are used to pour mind-boggling sums of capital into political campaigns," said Danny Ben-David, a recent MIT graduate who serves as president and "Grand Poobah" of Why Not ZoidPAC?

All superPAC owners-to-be need to do to create one is fill out FEC Form 1, then submit a letter to identify as a superPAC using this template. After registering as a superPAC, filers must file regular reports to disclose their receipts and disbursements. Friday, July 31st at midnight was the latest filing deadline for superPACs.

"In the end, it took five pieces of paper and a stamp," Ben-David said. He received a confirmation of his superPAC's status a week later.

Here are some other creative names spicing up campaign finance:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lauren Leatherby