CUNA Raises Another $180K During Month

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CUNA said it continued to build its campaign warchest last month, raising $180,000 in campaign funds and ending the month with an all-time high of $630,000 of cash on hand for its political action committee.

CUNA's PAC, known as CULAC, continued to reach out to so-called leadership PACs, making another $12,000 in contributions to the committees used by congressional leaders to boost friendly candidates. Last month's contributions make a total of $150,000 donated to leadership PACs during the current elections. Contributions went to PETE PAC (Sen. Pete Domenici), $5,000; AmeriPac (Rep. Steny Hoyer) $2,500; the Mike R. Fund, $1,000; Vision for Tomorrow Fund, $1,000; and Majority in Congress PAC, $1,000.

Leadership PACs allow interest groups like CUNA to contribute the maximum $10,000 to an individual candidate, then again to his/her leadership PAC, which may then be used to prop up other candidates.

CUNA also contributed $5,000 last month to Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is running for the state's open Senate seat. Despite the contribution, making a total of $10,000, the maximum allowable contributed to the Republican's campaign, Jim Nunamaker, lobbyist for the South Carolina CU League, said they have not endorsed DeMint or his Democratic challenger Inez Tanenbaum, the state's commissioner of education, as both candidates have sent the league letters supporting credit unions and the federal tax exemption. The two candidates are vying to succeed Democratic Sen. Ernest 'Fritz' Hollings, who is retiring after seven terms. Former Rep. Bob Engliss, who lost to DeMint in the 2000 Republican primary, is favored to reclaim the congressional seat being vacated by DeMint.

Other large contributions last month went to Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate candidate in Illinois ($5,000), and Thomas Price the Republican candidate for the sixth district seat in Georgia ($5,000).

Also receiving CUNA campaign funds last month was Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who won last week's Republican primary despite claims of nepotism brought on by her appointment to the Senate 20 months ago by her father Frank Murkowski, who gave up his seat when he was elected governor.

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