LA Times: How a congressional race in Santa Barbara became one of the most expensive in the country

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 11, 2016

By: Javier Panzar, Los Angeles Times

The political mailers piled up at David Rowan’s Paso Robles home this spring as nine different candidates sought to escape the June primary for a shot at replacing retiring Democratic Rep. Lois Capps.

One flier stood out to Rowan, a 69-year-old Republican and semi-retired private investigator.

The shiny pamphlet was sent by an Austin, Texas, group called Citizen Super PAC in support of 28-year-old GOP candidate Justin Fareed. Rowan shot off a letter to the local paper in March upset with what he saw as the mailer’s overly broad promises.

But another question lingered in Rowan’s head as the primary went on and the group’s spending rose —  $310,000 so far on mailers and a television ad to support Fareed. Who was behind Citizen Super PAC?

The source of the funds Citizen Super PAC spent on behalf of Fareed is hard to trace because the group functions as a sort of shell for other donors. The group has accepted six-figure checks from nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors, other political committees, one of the country’s largest coal companies and well-heeled individuals.

The Texas group supported Republicans in House and U.S. Senate races around the country, including more than $370,000 to support the reelection bids of Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and Texas Rep. Kevin Brady.

Chris Gober, one of the group’s founders and a former Republican National Committee staffer, described Citizen Super PAC as “a plug-and-play committee for donors to fund the specific projects” without having to set up a new group. He did not respond when asked which groups wanted their contributions spent on supporting Fareed’s campaign.

Link to full article here.