Jim DeMint PAC to Go Independent, Increase Fundraising

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is cutting official ties to his Senate Conservatives Fund leadership PAC to allow the fundraising outfit to form a super PAC. While DeMint may continue to attend fundraisers for the new super PAC — named Senate Conservatives Action — campaign finance laws prohibit him from asking donors for money directly.

The new structure will allow the group to raise and spend unlimited funds to support reliably conservative Senate candidates. It also ends the $5,000 limit on individual contributions. The group has raised $17 million since 2009, $8 million so far this year, under the limitations governing politicians' PACs.

The super PAC will use the change to allow it to increase its independent expenditures and develop its television and radio presence, according to SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins. An increased profile for the group has the potential to raise the influence of DeMint, already a favorite of the GOP's conservative base and an initiator of the tea party movement.

Hoskins said the organization is considering supporting additional candidates in line with its goal of "focusing resources on the races that really matter and endorsing candidates that are not only the strongest conservatives in terms of their views, but the ones that are competitive." The group already has endorsed Republican Senate candidates Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Rep. Jeff Flake in Arizona, Mark Neumann in Wisconsin, Ted Cruz in Texas and Josh Mandel in Ohio.

Correction: 1:34 p.m.

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.