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Citizens United PAC Bankrolls Santorum Ads for Hillyer in AL-01

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MOBILE—The Citizens United Political Victory Fund, the official political action committee of Citizens United, has announced a $25,000 radio ad campaign supporting Quin Hillyer’s candidacy for the US House of Representatives for Alabama’s 1st congressional district.

The ad, which will air before the September 24th Republican primary, features former Senator and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Santorum, who endorsed HIllyer in May, is slated to speak at an ALGOP fundraiser in Tuscumbia on September 26th. Alabama was one of eleven states that chose the former Pennsylvania Senator as their 2012 Republican Presidential nominee.

And yes, Citizens United is that Citizens United. As in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 watershed Supreme Court decision that began the federal government’s hands off approach to election regulation. The ruling lifted all limits on campaign contributions by entities designated as “political action committees” under IRS regulation 527. These entities, which had previously been subject to the same information disclosure requirements as typical campaign committees, are now allowed to receive limitless contributions from completely anonymous sources.

The Citizens United Political Victory Fund, the aptly named PAC of the winners of the 2010 case, is now flagrantly doing just that: collecting money from anonymous donors and spending it limitlessly on the candidates they believe in. In 2010, the group donated tens of thousands of dollars to Tea Party superstars like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. In 2012, they donated similar amounts to Tea Partier Ted Cruz, as well as Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, who would rise to national notoriety over their controversial comments on rape. Now the group has shown particular interest in Hillyer, who has also received their pledge of $15,000 in direct donations, aside from the positive airtime he will receive for free.

The new radio ad will run until the day before the primary, and consists solely of the voice of Rick Santorum, who chooses not to promote Republican policies, but to praise Hillyer’s opposition to Obama’s:

“I’m proud to support a true conservative, Quin Hillyer, for Congress, because he shares my values. Quin Hillyer supports defunding Obamacare, and opposes raising the debt ceiling for Obama’s reckless spending. On September 24th, vote Quin Hillyer, Conservative, for Congress.”

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Ads like this one have proven to work in the past in some races that CUPVF has funded—especially ads featuring prominent Republicans like Santorum.

Despite this, Hillyer is facing significant opposition for the House seat. Some of his opponents have made the fundraising competition a stiff one. Hillyer is going in to the September 24th primary in third place in financial efforts, according to FEC filings. Both former state senator Bradley Byrne and former RNC aide Wells Griffith have raised more money, and AL House Representative Chad Fincher is not far behind.

Hillyer is also not the only candidate in the special election to have high level endorsements. Wells Griffith recently received an endorsement from conservative icon and Romney VP nominee Paul Ryan.

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