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Jon Huntsman latest hopeful to be backed by 'super PAC'

August 30, 2011|By Melanie Mason | Washington Bureau
  • Jon Huntsman launches his presidential campaign near the Statue of Liberty on June 21.
Jon Huntsman launches his presidential campaign near the Statue of Liberty… (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters )

GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is the latest candidate to get the backing of a tailor-made "super PAC" -- complete with top-tier talent formerly with his official campaign.

Fred Davis, the GOP ad man whose off-kilter contributions to the political lexicon include "demon sheep," has signed on to the newly formed "Our Destiny PAC," which filed papers with the Federal Election Commission last week and includes, among its officials, an executive from Huntsman Corp., a global chemical company owned by the candidate's father, Jon Huntsman Sr. Politico reported today that the corporation said it has no affiliation to the PAC.

Davis, who was with the official Huntsman campaign until he resigned on July 27, will "be an important part of the PAC's team," according to the group's website. The move, first spotted by Real Clear Politics, gives Davis a bigger piggy bank to play with, as independent-expenditure groups are allowed to solicit unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions.

Free from campaign contribution limits, super PACs are expected to have outsized influence on the 2012 election cycle, operating on parallel tracks as the individual candidates' campaigns.

As one GOP operative told The Times in July, "everybody will have [a super PAC] -- there will be a sidecar for every motorcycle."

The groups are barred from coordinating activities with campaigns, but those barriers have proved porous when it comes to some top campaign operators, Davis among them, who have jumped from the official campaigns to supportive super PACS. iWatchNews reported last week that Steve Roche, a top fundraiser for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign, moved to Restore Our Future, an outside group backing Romney.

melanie.mason@latimes.com

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