The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Minuteman PAC Spends Mostly for Fundraising, Administration

By Sonia Scherr on October 16, 2008 - 5:16 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist

The Minuteman Political Action Committee proclaims on its website that it’s furiously advancing “2008 Project PushBack,” a supposedly full-scale effort to help reelect members of Congress who’ve pledged to crack down on immigrants who are in the country illegally. “Minuteman PAC has quickly become THE ONE Political Action Committee that the open-borders, pro-amnesty lobby fears most,” writes the committee’s executive director, Brett Farley. “And fear us they should!”

Despite all the brash rhetoric, however, the committee appears to be concentrating more on raising money than affecting the political process. Although the Minuteman PAC has spent nearly $1.3 million so far in the 2007-08 election cycle, less than 2% of that money has gone directly to candidates running for office, according to the latest data released by the Federal Election Commission and compiled by OpenSecrets.org. Instead, the vast majority has been spent on operating expenses, mostly direct mail fundraisers, Internet services and accounting work.

Political action committees, known as PACs, are private groups that raise money to elect political candidates. They’re subject to strict reporting guidelines.

The Minuteman PAC was established in December 2005 as the political action arm of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), a nativist extremist group whose members have conducted armed patrols of the border. MCDC’s embattled leader, Chris Simcox, has for the past two years faced a barrage of criticism (here and here) from within the anti-immigration movement concerning allegations of financial mismanagement and questionable fundraising practices.

As the latest FEC filing reveals, Simcox has not only managed to keep MCDC together, but also to raise some big money. As of this June 30, the Minuteman PAC had taken in over $1.2 million during the current election cycle but made direct contributions to only two candidates: $5,000 to Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who’s running for his father’s seat in the House of Representatives, and $10,000 to Bill Greene, a Georgia Republican who lost a bid for Congress in a special election held last year. (Although PACs are barred from giving more than $5,000 to a single candidate per election, the Minuteman PAC made two $5,000 contributions to Greene that were earmarked for separate elections: the special election and a runoff that’s held if no candidate receives a majority of votes.)

Last week, Simcox took a break from blogging about his group’s latest border venture, “Operation Imminent Threat,” to respond to an E-mail insinuating that the PAC isn’t giving enough to candidates. In a long, sometimes rambling post that mocked his critic, Simcox sounded pessimistic about the PAC’s ability to influence the November election — which he said would result in a Congress and executive branch “more hostile to our Minuteman agenda” — and asserted that donor education and expanding the donor pool are also important goals.

“A political action committee is not necessarily specifically in business to give money to candidates,” he wrote, “and this is especially not the priority if the limited contributions allowable under federal law cannot change the outcome of the election.”

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  • barfly

    I’d like to know when the minutemen are going to show up, and clean the portion of interstate 5 in San Diego, that they made such a stink about last year, when Caltrans took their adopt-a-highway sign down? The place is covered in garbage, and it doesn’t look like anyone has touched it in several months. So, what’s the deal? If you’re not going to clean it up, I’m going to petition Caltrans to have your sign taken down again, until you actually show up, and do the work. Or was it just a political statement, like your laughable fence?

  • Mark

    Well, whats the answer to Carters question?

  • Mark

    Yes, What is the answer to Carters question? Cat got your tongue?

  • Mycos

    Err… Where did you get the idea that they are set up to disburse charitable donations? The SPLC is a recipienmt of such funds, and the fact tht they still hand out a bigger percentage of their funds than Simcox does despite that being what Simcox is supposed to be doing….speaks very highly of SPLC, and well, not quite so highly of the Mini-Men.

    BTW Chris. If your ever up BC way again, I’d like to offer you that “any toe that comes over our border, stays over our border” offer that I left you last time, once again!

  • M A Andrews

    Carter’s question deserves an answer.

  • http://craptocracy.blogspot.com/ Carter

    According to the Harper’s Magazine article “The Church of Morris Dees”, in 1999 the SPLC “earned $44 million…$27 million from fund-raising and $17 million from stocks and other investments–but spent only $13 million on civil rights program , making it one of the most profitable charities in the country.”

    Has this changed? Some more recent information on the SPLC’s finances would be appreciated, as would not having this question censored. Thank you.

  • http://exaggerator.blogdrive.com/ IludiumPhosdex

    Next thing you know, expect a “Grand Coalition” of racist and white-supremacist movements to call for a Day of Solidarity with the Oppressed and Persecuted Afrikaner Peoples of South Africa coincident with the traditional “Day of the Vow” observance on 16 December.

    THAT will be a rather tasteless event indeed, especially the manufactured emotion when The Vow is repeated….