"The Slurpee Senator: Dick Lugar Gets Last Minute Boost From 7-Eleven"
As well-funded super PACs — including the Club for Growth Action, FreedomWorks for America, and the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund — poured millions of dollars into independent expenditures encouraging Indiana voters to support for State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) and against incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar (R) in tomorrow’s Republican primary, one pro-Lugar super PAC cried foul. But their ads decrying out-of-state influence are the height of hypocrisy as they were largely funded also by out-of-state donors.
Hoosiers for Jobs (formerly Hoosiers for Economic Growth & Jobs) has spent at least $175,000 on mailings and television ads in support of Lugar. Two spots by the group attack efforts by outside groups to “buy the election.” One ad, ironically called “Hypocrites,” attacks the Wall Street Club for Growth’s support of Mourdock as a “D.C. special interest bailout of his campaign.” The other, “Not for Sale,” says the Club is “trying to buy our Senate seat by spending millions of dollars of secret Wall Street money” attacking Lugar.
Watch “Not for Sale”:
But, as the Center for Public Integrity notes, more than two-thirds of the donations reported to date by Hoosiers for Jobs come from outside of Indiana. The group’s filings reveal that through April 18, it received $170,000. Just $55,000 of that came from Hoosiers, whom the group claims to represent.
Who did fund the misnamed “Hoosiers for Jobs?” Former lobbyist Roy Pfautch of St. Louis, Missouri donated $50,000, Swift Boat funder Sam Fox of St. Louis gave $25,000, and the Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. kicked in $25,000.
Why is the convenience store franchise helping Lugar? He “understands our issues,” a spokesperson told the CPI. Lugar also supported the Slurpee-seller in a congressional battle against banks, and his daughter-in-law is a lobbyist for a trade association tied to the omnipresent retailer.
As Super PACs spend more and more on statewide and congressional races, voters should take their messages with a shaker of salt. After all, the TV ads calling out out-of-state funding and hypocrisy may well be paid for by out-of-state hypocrites.