Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gabby PAC Launches, Could Start With Hefty Bankroll; Update On Her Campaign Funds

Retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is the name and personality behind the newly-filed "Gabby PAC", which could receive an infusion of some $300,000 by closing out her campaign committee's account.

Earlier in the summer, Giffords' husband had suggested that the PAC might be the next step that would allow the Representative to remain actively engaged in politics and issues that she cares about following her decision to resign her Congressional seat to focus on her recovery from the January 2011 attempted assassination.

Gabby PAC was created on August 18, signed off on by Jan Lesher - a longtimeTucson Democratic activist, and received by the Federal Election Commission yesterday.

Giffords' campaign committee started this year with nearly $1 million in its account.   As of June 30, it still had $354,131.26, which could conceivably be used to kickstart the new PAC.  (Although, the advantages to such a transfer might be negligible and/or outweighed by the negatives.)

The dimunition in funds in Giffords for Congress has occurred in two phases so far: first, after she announced her resignation, some $200,000 in refunds were sent to contributors (individuals, PAC's and other candidate committees); then, in April, Giffords turned over $100,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and began transfers totaling $213,500 to the Arizona Democratic Committee.

(Interestingly, the April contributions began just days after a New York Times article on Giffords' campaign account included gentle criticism from the chair of the Pima County Democratic Committee.)

The disbursements may have continued in July and August, but the next quarterly filing (since she is not running for office) is not due until October.

The transfer of campaign monies to Gabby PAC appears to be permissible both under FEC laws/regulations/opinions and House Ethics rules.  (Arizona's Politics has sought comment from Ms. Lesher, and will update this report as needed.)

The website addresses "GabbyPAC.com", "GabbyPAC.org" or "GabbyPAC.net" have already been assigned and forward to her personal page "GabrielleGiffords.com" with the video message she posted in January upon her resignation.  That resignation prompted the special election earlier this year, won by her District Director (and fellow shooting victim) Ron Barber.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

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