Supporter creates super PAC for Bernie Sanders, who hates super PACs

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally July 6, 2015 in Portland, Maine.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally July 6, 2015 in Portland, Maine. –AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Bernie Sanders detests the influence of wealthy individuals on elections.

“I do not believe that billionaires should be able to buy politicians,’’ the Vermont senator said in May.

Well, a super PAC called “Billionaires for Bernie’’ was filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission by Eric C. Jacobson, a Los Angeles public interest lawyer, to support Sanders’s presidential bid.

As the Washington Postpointed out, Jacobson will have to change the name of “Billionaires for Bernie,’’ because “unaffiliated PACs can’t bear the name of the candidate.’’

As ruled by the Supreme Court, super PACs can spend unlimited amounts of money for or against campaigns, as long as they do not directly contribute to or coordinate with the candidates.


Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs told that Sanders does not want billionaires spending unlimited amounts of money for him, or any other candidate.

Briggs also questioned the seriousness of the PAC and pointed out that Jacobson does not seem to himself be a billionaire.

According to the FEC filing, Jacobson — who did not immediately respond to requests for comment — has not yet commenced any fundraising, but would himself provide the minimum $1,000 deposit required to start a super PAC.

Jacobson told the Post that he believes “liberals’ general position against unlimited contributions in politics is limiting their ability to compete.’’

Briggs said Sanders is proud that the campaign’s average donation was less than $35 and pointed out that Sanders had introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United — the Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.

However, Briggs said there isn’t really anything the Sanders campaign can do to stop Jacobson.

“It’s a free country,’’ he said.

This is not the first time the Sanders campaign has faced this irony.

In May, the Burlington Free Pressreported that multiple super PACs had been formed to support Sanders, including one hybrid PAC named “Bet on Bernie,’’ whose chairman Cary Peterson said he intended to raise $50 million.


Sanders said he had not sanctioned any super PAC and an campaign advisor reportedly said of Peterson: “I don’t even know who this guy is.’’

“A major problem of our campaign finance system is that anybody can start a super PAC on behalf of anybody and can say anything,’’ Sanders said at the time. “And this is what makes our current campaign finance situation totally absurd.’’

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