Cummings Responds to Explosive New Report on Chairman Gowdy’s Links to Stop Hillary PAC
WASHINGTON— Today, the Washington Post reported on newly discovered links between Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.”
This is the same group that last week aired a highly offensive new attack ad using images of Ambassador Stevens’ grave—without his family’s permission—and exploiting the deaths of four Americans to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president. Democrats have complained repeatedly about Gowdy’s connections to the group.
The Post article includes several new revelations:
- Gowdy’s leadership PAC, Themis, shared the same treasurer as Stop Hillary PAC since 2013, an outspoken political operative and Clinton opponent named Dan Backer.
- Backer also served as treasurer on three other PACs that each donated $2,000 to Gowdy for Congress in April. Only after being confronted with these facts by the Washington Post did Gowdy return these donations on Friday.
- Just last month, STOP Hillary PAC spent $10,000 on robocalls and other efforts in support of Gowdy.
In response to this new report, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings issued the following statement: “These are shocking new revelations that directly contradict the promise we made to the families of the four brave Americans.”
On May 16, 2013, Backer filed a Statement of Organization for Stop Hillary PAC with the Federal Election Commission. Backer signed as the group’s treasurer and listed Access National Bank in Chantilly, Virginia as its bank of record.
On August 14, 2013, Backer filed another Statement of Organization for a leadership PAC called “Themis PAC”—on behalf of Chairman Gowdy. Backer also signed this document as the group’s treasurer and listed the same bank of record in Virginia.
Backer is also listed as treasurer on three other PACS that each donated $2,000 to Gowdy in April:
- On April 27, 2015, Tea Party Leadership Fund (Treasurer: Dan Backer) contributed $2,000 to Trey Gowdy for Congress.
- On April 27, 2015, Special Operations Speaks PAC (Treasurer: Dan Backer) contributed $2,000 to Trey Gowdy for Congress.
- On April 27, 2015, Conservative Action Fund PAC (Treasurer: Dan Backer) contributed $2,000 to Trey Gowdy for Congress.
Today’s Post story reported: “On Friday, Gowdy’s campaign returned three campaign donations after The Washington Post inquired about links to a political action committee that aired a controversial ad about the Benghazi attacks during last week’s Democratic presidential debate.”
On September 2, 2015, Backer—on behalf of Stop Hillary PAC—filed a report with the FEC reporting an expenditure of $10,000 in “support” of Chairman Gowdy. The “purpose of expenditure” is listed as “digital messaging delivery and robocalls.” The “name of federal candidate” is listed as “Trey Gowdy.”
A recent profile of Backer in New York Magazine says this:
“We do stuff that is probably tasteless to some people, but we think it’s hilarious.” When I asked him what he meant, he popped open his laptop and offered a sneak peek at an unaired Stop Hillary PAC ad. …
Backer points to the 400,000 signatures on the Benghazi petition as evidence of the support behind the Stop Hillary PAC, and he says it will mobilize supporters in increasingly public campaigns this fall. “We have a particularly large project that we’re going to be rolling out. The RNC could never, ever do it,” he says. “Our volunteers will fight because they see Hillary as an existential threat.” It’s called Operation Black Box. “This,” he promises, sounding very sure of himself, “is the thing that’s going to do Hillary in.”