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July 31, 2014

Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity Jumps into Michigan Primary

By Matt Corley

Rolling moneyYesterday, CREW revealed how money from the Republican Governors Association appears to have funneled into a super PAC taking sides against former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) in Colorado’s recent GOP gubernatorial primary. The revelation incensed Rep. Tancredo, who is now calling for an investigation. The super PAC, Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity (CJO), is now playing in another Republican primary, this time using money from big Michigan corporations in an attempt to influence the outcome of a Michigan congressional race.

In March 2014, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced that he would not seek re-election this year, opening his 4th district seat to a competitive primary. The August 5 primary pits two businessmen, Paul Mitchell and Peter Konetchy, against state Sen. John Moolenaar. Though the self-funding Mr. Mitchell is leading the money race, Sen. Moolenaar is getting a boost from CJO.

Since July 16, CJO has spent $222,000 to run a TV ad featuring Rep. Camp endorsing Sen. Moolenaar (the ad also includes footage of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaking with Sen. Moolenaar and Rep. Camp). The ad campaign has been funded by a few large donations. On the same day CJO made its first TV buy in the race, the PAC received $100,000 from the Midland-based Dow Corning Corporation, $15,000 from the Fisher Contracting Company, also based in Midland, $5,000 from Flint-based McLaren Health Advantage, and $25,000 from Gary Veurink, a former Dow Chemical executive.

CJO is barred from coordinating with Sen. Moolenaar's campaign, but the two do appear to be using the same vendor for their ads. Sen. Moolenaar’s campaign committee reported paying Strategic Media Services (SMS) just over $200,000 for radio and TV ads since mid-June. CJO, meanwhile, has paid Nebo Media, Inc. for TV ads. According to Virginia state corporate filings, David Neal, the president of SMS, also is a registered officer of Nebo. In addition, several media buying contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission naming Nebo as the agency list ad buyers who are employees of SMS. Finally, on its website and in Sen. Moolenar’s Federal Election Commission reports, SMS’s address is given as1911 Ft. Myer Drive, Suite 400, in Arlington, VA. CJO’s FEC report lists Nebo’s address as a post office box in Arlington, but according to Nebo’s filings with the state of Virginia, the company’s principal office is also at 1911 Ft. Myer Drive, Suite 400, in Arlington. Nebo appears to be another name for SMS.

So far, there are no hints about CJO’s next move, but if it follows the pattern, look for the group to pour money into a hotly contested Republican primary at the last minute at the behest of a small number of big donors.

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