New ‘Progressive’ Super PAC Actually Backing Conservatives, Run By Former Consultants For Rove And Bachmann

Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez (R-MA)

Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez (R-MA)

A secretive new super PAC with the misleading name “Americans for Progressive Action” has made a $700,000 ad buy on behalf of Massachusetts Republican Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez. But while the group claims it is not partisan and will back independent-minded candidates, the group’s leadership includes Republican consultants with ties to Karl Rove and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

The super PAC — which will not have to disclose any of its donors until after the June 25 special election to fill the remainder of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate term — says it will back “people with a more independent streak who care more about doing what is right, than relying on partisan politics,” and sees Gomez as a “moderate, reasonable candidate.”

But the committee’s treasurer, Nancy H. Watkins of Tampa, FL, is a prominent Republican accounting and compliance expert who has served for former Reps. David Rivera and Rick Renzi (R-AZ), and Bachmann’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign. Her husband, Robert I. Watkins, is assistant treasurer and a Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) appointee and was a major bundler for both the George W. Bush (R) and Mitt Romney (R) presidential campaigns.

More notably, The Hill reported Wednesday, Americans for Progressive Action’s spokeswoman is Sheena Tahilramani. Tahilramani served for several years as chief of staff for Karl Rove’s company and was media liaison for the Republican strategist. She now works as head of marketing and publicity for a consulting firm whose clients include birther Joseph Farah’s WND Books.

In a Senate debate Tuesday, Gomez defended the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling — which helped allow unlimited spending by outside groups like Americans for Progressive Action and Rove’s Crossroads GPS — as “just free speech.” Despite requests by his opponent, Rep. Ed Markey (D), Gomez has repeatedly refused to sign a “People’s Pledge” to keep outside money out of the race, like the one agreed to by then-Sen. Scott Brown (R) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) in their 2012 race.