Political Party/527

Fix Congress Now

Formation:

2019

Fix Congress Now (stylized Fix Congress Now!) is a super PAC founded in Denver, Colorado in 2019. The PAC is affiliated with Unite America, a national ostensibly bipartisan but functionally liberal-aligned organization pushing for left-of-center voter reform and “compromise” candidates in primary elections. As of 2020, Fix Congress Now has been involved in two Republican primary elections for the United States House of Representatives, supporting moderate candidates over traditional conservatives.

Political Spending

Fix Congress Now did not exist during the 2018 election cycle, but it made sizeable contributions in the 2020 cycle through February 12, 2020. By that date, Fix Congress Now had reported $804,767 in independent expenditures to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).[1] The PAC reported $201,972 in campaign materials and mailings, along with $325,575 spent on broadcast ads and $25,000 spent on online ads.[2]

Fix Congress Now has involved itself in just two elections in 2020 as of early April, focusing on contested Republican primary races in North Carolina and California. In 2020, U.S. Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) announced his retirement to become White House Chief of Staff for President Donald Trump, sparking a heated 12-way primary contest for his seat.[3] Meadows himself expressed support for Lynda Bennett, a real estate broker who was further supported by the conservative and pro-Trump administration House Freedom Caucus.[4]

Fix Congress Now opposed Bennett, instead endorsing Iraq War veteran Dan Driscoll.[5] Fix Congress Now spent $159,667 on initiatives to defeat Bennett, in addition to spending $264,516 in support of Driscoll.[6] The House Freedom Fund (HFF), a PAC supporting members of the House Freedom Caucus, alleged that Fix Congress Now was led by liberal elites, and in response to the ads, HFF offered to send 100% of all contributions made to the PAC directly to Lynda Bennett’s campaign.[7] Bennett advanced to the primary election runoff with 22.7% of the vote; as Driscoll was eliminated with 8.6%.[8]

In the primary election for California’s Eighth District, Fix Congress Now spent $348,814 to defeat former California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R), more money than the PAC had spent on any other campaign as of early April 2020.[9] Fix Congress Now mildly supported then-incumbent Republican Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) in the same race, giving $31,770 to efforts for his election.[10] Obernolte went on to advance to the general election; Donnelly was eliminated in the all-party primary.[11]

Affiliation with Unite America

Fix Congress Now is closely related to Unite America, a political organization designed to promote left-of-center election administration changes.[12] Unite America supports initiatives including independent congressional redistricting commissions, ranked choice voting, mail-in voting, and open primary elections.[13] Unite America’s larger strategy involves supporting “unity” candidates in primary elections at the state and federal level, working on behalf of candidates in both parties who are in favor of Unite America’s left-of-center electoral administration agenda and who commit to joining a cross-partisan caucus.[14]

Unite America and Fix Congress Now share an office space in Denver, Colorado.[15] [16] Though Unite America has its own Funds, the Unite America Congressional Election Fund and the Unite America Election Fund, Unite America gave Fix Congress Now $405,000 between 2019 and 2020.[17]

Fix Congress Now spent its greatest expenditures of 2020 at Polestar Inc, paying Polestar $552,547 between 2019 and 2020.[18] Polestar is a “social enterprise” company that provides campaign services directly to independent campaigns, capitalizing most notably on a database of sophisticated voter information.[19] According to Nick Troiano, executive director of Unite America, Polestar is a part of the independent “movement” away from party politics.[20] In 2020, Polestar reported a total of $1,871,740 in payments, all of which came from Fix Congress Now, Unite America, and Unite America PACs.[21]

People and Funding

Unite America appears as the only contributor to Fix Congress Now, donating $405,000 to the PAC in February 2020.[22] Fix Congress Now does not maintain a website or social media presence. Jeffrey Carson serves as treasurer of Fix Congress Now.[23] Carson also works as the senior operations director of Unite America.[24] Carson is a former United States Army Captain who founded Evolt Consulting Group, a political consulting firm.[25] Carson formerly ran for Congress in Virginia’s Eighth District during the 2014 election cycle as a Libertarian.[26] [27]

Unite America is largely supported by Kathryn Murdoch, the left-environmentalist daughter-in-law of conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.[28] Murdoch serves as the co-chair of Unite America and has contributed $3.8 million to Unite America since 2019.[29] [30] Murdoch has also sat on the Clinton Climate Initiative board since 2008, and she sits on the board of the left-leaning environmentalist group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).[31]

References

  1. “Fix Congress Now! Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/expenditures.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00735670. ^
  2. “Fix Congress Now! Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/expenditures.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00735670. ^
  3. Giroux, Greg. “What to Look for in Super Tuesday’s Congressional Primaries.” Bloomberg Government, March 2, 2020. https://about.bgov.com/news/what-to-look-for-in-super-tuesdays-congressional-primaries/. ^
  4. Giroux, Greg. “What to Look for in Super Tuesday’s Congressional Primaries.” Bloomberg Government, March 2, 2020. https://about.bgov.com/news/what-to-look-for-in-super-tuesdays-congressional-primaries/. ^
  5. Giroux, Greg. “What to Look for in Super Tuesday’s Congressional Primaries.” Bloomberg Government, March 2, 2020. https://about.bgov.com/news/what-to-look-for-in-super-tuesdays-congressional-primaries/. ^
  6. “Fix Congress Now! Independent Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/indexpend.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00735670. ^
  7. “NC-11: Group Targets Top Conservative.” House Freedom Fund, February 27, 2020. https://www.housefreedomfund.com/post/208/nc-11-group-targets-top-conservative. ^
  8. “North Carolina Primary Election Results: 11th House District.” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 18, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/03/us/elections/results-north-carolina-house-district-11-primary-election.html. ^
  9. “Fix Congress Now! Independent Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/indexpend.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00735670. ^
  10. “Fix Congress Now! Independent Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/indexpend.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00735670. ^
  11. “California Primary Election Results: Eighth House District.” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 18, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/03/us/elections/results-california-house-district-8-primary-election.html. ^
  12. “Home.” Unite America . Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/. ^
  13. “Home.” Unite America . Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/. ^
  14. “Unity Candidates.” Unite America. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/strategy/unity-candidates. ^
  15. “FEC Form 99: Fix Congress Now!” Federal Election Commission (FEC), February 26, 2020. https://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/685/202002269203320685/202002269203320685.pdf#navpanes=0. ^
  16. “Contact.” Unite America. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/contact. ^
  17. “Browse Individual Contributions: Unite America.” FEC.gov. Federal Election Commission (FEC). Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?committee_id=C00735670&two_year_transaction_period=2020&min_date=01/01/2019&max_date=12/31/2020. ^
  18. “Fix Congress Now! Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/expenditures.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00735670. ^
  19. Troiano, Nick. “2017: Centrist Project Year in Review.” Medium. Medium, December 28, 2017. https://medium.com/@NickTroiano/2017-centrist-project-year-in-review-3d997151b287. ^
  20. Troiano, Nick. “2017: Centrist Project Year in Review.” Medium. Medium, December 28, 2017. https://medium.com/@NickTroiano/2017-centrist-project-year-in-review-3d997151b287. ^
  21. “Expenditures to Vendors.” OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/expends/vendor.php?year=2020&vendor=Polestar+Inc. ^
  22. “Browse Individual Contributions: Unite America.” FEC.gov. Federal Election Commission (FEC). Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?committee_id=C00735670&two_year_transaction_period=2020&min_date=01/01/2019&max_date=12/31/2020. ^
  23. “FEC Form 99: Fix Congress Now!” Federal Election Commission (FEC), February 26, 2020. https://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/685/202002269203320685/202002269203320685.pdf#navpanes=0 ^
  24. “Jeffrey Carson.” Unite America. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/team-members/jeffrey-carson. ^
  25. “Jeffrey Carson.” Unite America. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/team-members/jeffrey-carson. ^
  26. “Jeffrey Carson.” Unite America. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/team-members/jeffrey-carson. ^
  27. “Jeffrey Carson.” Ballotpedia. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://ballotpedia.org/Jeffrey_Carson. ^
  28. Schwartz, John. “Kathryn Murdoch Steps Out of the Family Shadow to Fight Climate Change.” The New York Times. The New York Times, September 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/climate/kathryn-murdoch-climate-change-voting.html. ^
  29. “Browse Individual Contributions: Kathryn Murdoch.” FEC.gov. Federal Election Commission (FEC). Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?committee_id=C00677773&contributor_name=kathryn+murdoch&two_year_transaction_period=2020&min_date=01/01/2019&max_date=12/31/2020. ^
  30. “Kathryn Murdoch.” Unite America. Accessed April 4, 2020. https://www.uniteamerica.org/team-members/kathryn-murdoch. ^
  31. Schwartz, John. “Kathryn Murdoch Steps Out of the Family Shadow to Fight Climate Change.” The New York Times. The New York Times, September 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/climate/kathryn-murdoch-climate-change-voting.html. ^
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