Caruso on track to exceed $100 million in campaign spending
MICHIGAN — Democratic Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell, whose political empire of 10 offices in Michigan is estimated to be worth $100 million, is well on her way to exceeding the $100 million threshold for what’s known as a “super PAC.”
That’s the limit for groups that can accept unlimited donations from just about any donor in the nation and solicit the contributions of an unlimited amount of people to influence political campaigns.
Dingell, whose fundraising arm, Friends of Debbie Dingell, has taken in $1 million from the Michigan State Fair and other sources, is the only Democrat with an office in the state with a super PAC fundraising limit, said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the House Financial Services Committee.
Dingell’s campaign committee and nonprofit arms all have raised and spent far more than $100 million since 1999, according to a June 6 report, “Ranking Members of Congress vs. Super PACs: The Money’s Even Losing.”
That includes the $2.6 million raised by Dingell’s campaign committee, which has spent nearly $1.1 million. The campaign committee was active in April and May 2012.
That didn’t include last week, when the committee collected $2.3 million from a single donation from a business.
The PAC report didn’t include another $2.2 million raised by Dingell’s nonprofit groups over the last two election cycles, but the report states they have collectively raised $5.7 million.
Dingell, 45, is seeking a second term to her 13th term in Congress this fall and has been an outspoken advocate for Medicare. She sits on the panel with Medicare and Medicaid. She also is an advocate for immigration policy and voted for legislation last year requiring immigrants to pass a literacy test.
She’s well-known in the Senate for her dogged efforts to force President Obama’s hand in negotiations and is one of the few senators whose political campaigns have generated more money, even as her colleagues fall short of the super PAC fundraising thresholds for some positions.
The first time Congress passed a law to fund the government, Dingell’s campaign raised only about $16,000, according to campaign reports.
But she has continued to fund her campaign with a $30,000 monthly stipend from her Democratic campaign committee and a $40,000 loan from her campaign, she said in a written