Two super PACs have been registered in recent months with names that coincide with the #MeToo movement, the grassroots effort to end sexual violence. But the two independent-expenditure committees appear to be coming from very different worldviews — one pro-women, the other perhaps less so. And while neither committee has reported raising any money as of yet, as super PACs, they are permitted to raise unlimited sums of money from individuals and corporations — and each could be poised to capitalize on the movement’s momentum with very different outcomes.
Vote Me Too PAC
Sarah Sherman, a caterer and mom who helped start Baltimore’s Indivisible group, is a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. “The #MeToo movement dropped in my lap,” she explained in a phone interview with ThinkProgress. “Marching, for me, was not enough.”
“I look at my daughter and think, ‘how am I supposed to explain this to her?’ I can’t. So now I just have to do something,” she said. “The movement was so comforting. I could go on Facebook, read and read, and feel like I wasn’t alone. This is way too powerful to just be a Facebook feed. We have to do something, have to change the power dynamic.” To do that, she is creating the Vote Me Too super PAC aimed at electing a diverse group of pro-women candidates in the 2018 Congressional general elections. It registered with the Federal Election Commission in January and had its official kickoff on Monday, March 5.
Sherman plans for the super PAC to endorse a slate of 3 to 10 women, especially first-time candidates, and to support them by independently creating and running ads on their behalf. Her husband, a political ad-maker and video producer, will partner with the PAC to make the ads. Though Vote Me Too will consider female candidates from “all parties,” she acknowledged that, she knows of “no GOP candidates who come anywhere close to qualifying for our endorsement,” which will go only to outspoken champions in protecting women from sexual violence and supporting the right to reproductive choice, health care, equal pay, family leave, and harassment-free workplaces.
At a recent event, Sherman recounted, she met the #MeToo movement’s founder, Tarana Burke and told her about the super PAC. “The first thing she said was, ‘I hope the women who you are electing are going to be interested in protecting women from sexual assault and harassment.’ I said absolutely, I am one of those women, this is what I’m going to do with it.” (Burke did not respond to a request for comment.)
The super PAC plans to begin fundraising, targeting small-dollar donations, Sherman said. “We really don’t know how much we’ll raise, but the more we raise, the more impact we’ll have. If I can get one woman across that finish line, I’ll know I’ve done my job and my suffering with my own #MeToo experience won’t have been in vain.”
Me Too PAC
But as Sherman’s effort might face some fundraising competition. Weeks before she registered her super PAC, a little-noticed Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing was posted online, announcing the registration of “Me Too PAC.” The form did not provide a website, but did list the super PAC’s treasurer and custodian of records as Kori Michelle Crow. Crow, a Republican political consultant based in Austin, Texas, is a principal and co-founder of KC Strategies. The firm’s client list includes a dozen current or former Republican Texas stage legislators — all men and all abortion-rights opponents — as well as an array of Texas prosecutors, judges, and local elected officials. Public records indicate it also did work for a 2016 super PAC that supported Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, a man so fiscally conservative that, as governor of New Mexico in 1995, he initially vetoed funds for medical evaluations of sexually abused kids.
ThinkProgress reached out to Crow at the time to inquire as to the super PAC’s plans. Her assistant Jaime responded in an email that Me Too PAC was in the “very, very early stages” but would be ” a November, General Election focused PAC,” and promised that Crow would answer in a few days. Despite multiple follow-ups over the next two months, ThinkProgress was never able to reach her for comment.