Long Before This Week’s Flap, Swiftboat Financiers Bailed On Haley’s PAC

Ryan J. Reilly and Alex Sciuto
TPM | December 22, 2010

Long before all this week's hoopla over Barbour's rose-tinted recollections of the segregationist Citizens' Councils, two major GOP donors who supported the controversial Swiftboat ads had already stopped their donations to the political action committee affiliated with Haley Barbour. The 527 organization known as Haley's PAC brought in $986,506 in 2008 -- but that number dropped to just $211,486 in 2009, according to recently disclosed IRS filings.

Though 2009 was an off-year in the election cycle, that remains a precipitous drop unmatched by other leadership PACs, including former Rep. Newt Gingrich's.

Texas  billionaire and Swiftboat attack ads financier Harold Simmons

Two of the biggest donors to Haley's PAC in 2008 were Harold Simmons (a billionaire GOP donor who gave money to the Swiftboat ads and $100,000 dollars to Haley's PAC) and Bob J. Perry (who gave Haley's PAC $50,000). But the big donations fell off in 2009, with Haley's PAC receiving no single donation over $5,000.

Federal Elections Commission filings show that, in October and November, Haley's PAC sent: $1,000 each to Allen West's (R-FL), Christine O'Donnell's (R-DE), Joe Miller's (R-AK) and Ben Quayle's (R-AZ) campaigns; $2,500 to both Mary Fallin's (R-OK) gubernatorial and Rand Paul (R-KY) Senate campaigns; and $5,000 to both Sharron Angle's (R-NV) and Marco Rubio's (R-FL) Senate campaigns and the Boehner for Speaker Committee.

The Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, and Response America LLC were also big recipients of Haley's PAC's funds. Still, what Haley's PAC spent pales in comparison to the expenditures of fellow potential 2012 presidential nominee Newt Gingrich, whose 527 spent more than three times as much on private planes in 2009 as Haley's PAC spent overall the same year.

As Politico reported in June, Barbour established another PAC called Haley's Leadership PAC in Georgia, where such committees can accept corporate checks barred by the more restrictive federal campaign finance rules.

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