A Republican super political action committee that is pouring money into congressional races in Montana and Georgia is being funded by tobacco companies, video game manufacturers, other corporations and wealthy donors, according to recently filed Federal Election Commission reports.
Affiliates of R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris, along with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade association for video game makers, and the American Action Network (AAN), a nonprofit group that has received corporate funding, gave a total of nearly $2 million over the last month to the Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC endorsed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP leaders.
AAN provided more than $1.6 million to the super PAC, according to an FEC report
filed May 11. RAI Services Co., an affiliate of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. parent Reynolds American Inc., gave $250,000. Altria Client Services LLC, an affiliate of Philip Morris USA, gave $25,000. ESA gave $50,000.
Spending by the GOP super PAC and others in the Georgia and Montana special elections could presage record-shattering fundraising for the 2018 midterms. The latest FEC reports indicate an arms race is taking shape as Democratic contributors motivated by opposition to President Donald Trump and the Republican agenda are being countered by Republican groups funded by corporations, trade associations and wealthy individual donors seeking to preserve a business-friendly Congress.