HomePoliticsAIPAC's support for election deniers is becoming a flashpoint in the Maryland...

AIPAC’s support for election deniers is becoming a flashpoint in the Maryland housing race

Harry Dunn (left) stands next to President Joe Biden before receiving the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor, on January 6, 2023. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

A former U.S. Capitol Police officer who is now running for Congress in suburban Maryland is denouncing AIPAC’s intervention in his race, pointing to the group’s support for dozens of Republicans who objected to the certification of the 2020 election results even after the January 6, 2021 uprising.

Harry Dunn, who held out anti-black racism While defending the Capitol against rioters on Jan. 6, he said the hundreds of thousands of dollars the United Democracy Project — a super PAC affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — is spending in his race amounts to a threat to the democratic norms he fought for to stay afloat during the infamous attempt by violent protesters to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election.

“Any candidate for Maryland’s Third Congressional District should immediately condemn this shady spending funded by MAGA Republicans,” Dunn said. “Candidates who receive this endorsement are accepting the support of an organization that has supported candidates and members of Congress who incited the rioters I fought against on January 6 and attempted to overthrow our democracy.”

Dunn will also hold a press conference Wednesday morning on “rejecting MAGA super PAC money.”

UDP is required by law to disclose its direct donors, but may receive donations from corporations and nonprofits whose funders are not public. And while UDP is active almost exclusively in Democratic primaries, some of its super PACs are active top contributors are indeed Republican megadonors Bernie Marcus And Paul Singer. The group has already made a reservation Worth $600,000 of airtime in support of state senator Sara Elfretha mainstream Democrat who was the top fundraiser in the race before Dunn entered.

The expenses, first reported by Jacob Rubashkin of Inside Elections, came as a surprise to observers who saw no clear stakes for U.S.-Israeli policy in the race.

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Within hours, however, news of the sudden influx of cash had upended the May 14 Democratic primary in Maryland’s 3rd, home to Annapolis and the Baltimore and D.C. suburbs. Palestine does rattling primaries in safe seats in the Democratic House.

In this case, however, instead of trying to eradicate Dunn’s campaign, Dunn is very likely collateral damage on his way to stopping another candidate: John Morse, a labor attorney endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday.

Morse has been a consistent and outspoken critic of the Israeli invasion of Gaza. After the killing of more than a hundred Palestinians seeking food aid at the end of February, Morse wrote on X“The murder and starvation of innocent people must stop now.”

Dunn, meanwhile, has a mainstream pro-Israel policy platform, according to a non-public Israeli policy document obtained by HuffPost. In the article, the composition of which is a Access ritual As for Democratic congressional candidates, Dunn reaffirmed his support for Israel’s right to defend itself following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack and pledged to oppose legislation that would impose conditions on U.S. aid to Israel.

Seeing no reason for UDP to object to its views on Israel, Dunn argued that his fervent opposition to the excessive influence of concentrated money in politics angered the UDP. Dunn let go of his “plan to protect popular democracy” outlining his support for key ethics, voting rights and campaign finance reforms on Friday. In the plan, Dunn renounced accepting PAC donations from corporations and proposed, among other things, the nationwide rollout of government-funded campaigns and stricter disclosure rules for the funders of online advertising.

“Right after I announced it my plan To protect our democracy from outside special interests trying to influence the election, dark money was brought into this race,” he continued. “These groups, funded by Republican extremists, are coming after our movement to protect American democracy. Congressman John Sarbanes has spent his entire career trying to get dark money out of politics, and now those same dark money groups are trying to buy this seat.”

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Rep. Sarbanes, who is retiring this year, is the architect of the For the People’s LawA sweeping ethics, voting rights and campaign finance reform bill passed with Democrats in control of the chamber, but failed to advance in the Senate due to Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin’s refusal to end the filibuster to weaken.

Thanks to his status as a folk hero on January 6, Dunn is a major grassroots fundraiser, bringing in a lot of people $2.7 million in his first three weeks as a candidate. The day after he released his democracy protection plan, End launched Citizens United, a Democratic campaign finance reform group with its own fundraising, endorsed him.

UDP denied that its intervention for Elfreth had anything to do with Dunn’s views on Israel, or his position on campaign finance regulations.

“While we appreciate Harry Dunn’s support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, Sara Elfreth’s leadership on abortion rights, climate change and domestic violence makes her a stronger candidate for the voters of Howard, Anne Arundel and Carroll,” Patrick Dorton, a spokesperson for United Democracy Project, said in a statement.

Dorton explained the UDP’s decision to get involved at all: “There are some serious anti-Israel candidates in this race who are not Harry Dunn, and we need to make sure they don’t make it to Congress.”

Someone close to Maryland state Sen. Sarah Elfreth (R) denied that her campaign was trying to appeal to AIPAC Someone close to Maryland state Sen. Sarah Elfreth (R) denied that her campaign was trying to appeal to AIPAC

Someone from the state of Maryland, Senator Sarah Elfreth (right), denied that she wanted to appeal to AIPAC with her campaign’s ‘red box’. Instead, she encouraged all third-party funders to emphasize positive themes, the person said. Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Dorton wouldn’t say which candidates he was referring to, but Morse is almost certainly one of them.

Morse responded to news of UDP involvement by redoubling his calls for a ceasefire. “I was the first and only person [in this race] to publicly speak out for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza,” he said wrote on X on Monday. “I support that now more than ever.”

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Elfreth, the youngest woman ever elected to the Maryland Senate in 2019, was the fundraising leader before Dunn came in. She has the support of many of her colleagues in the Legislature, as well as key outside groups: the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, Maryland’s statewide teachers and firefighters unions, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (Despite UDP spending, AIPAC has yet to formally endorse the race.)

UDPs first TV spot highlights Elfreth’s record, including passage of 84 bills in five years as senator. “With so much at stake – abortion rights, the environment, our democracy – we need a member of Congress who will deliver,” the ad’s narrator concludes.

The content of the ad closely mirrors the contents of Elfreth’s “red box” – the term for a public place where candidates communicate what they would like super PACs to focus on, without running afoul of the law that prohibits coordination between candidates and outside groups not subject to campaign contribution limits. The web page, which isn’t actually red in this case, specifically cites Elfreth’s 84 bills, including those codifying abortion and making child care more affordable, mentioned in the ad.

“Women eligible to vote in the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District should see, read and see along the way that Sarah Elfreth defeated a pro-life, NRA-backed Republican to become the youngest woman in Maryland history to be elected in the Senate, where she became a champion for Maryland women, passing laws to protect the right to abortion, to help victims of domestic violence, and to protect our homes and communities from gun violence,” the campaign wrote. the “red box” web page.

The Elfreth campaign declined to comment on AIPAC’s spending. But a person familiar with the campaign’s thinking said Elfreth had no intention of directly courting AIPAC or UDP with her “red box.” She just wanted to guarantee that each The independent spending program focuses on her positive attributes, rather than attacking Dunn, the person said.

State Sen. Clarence Lam and state Reps. Terri Hill, Michael Rogers, Mark Chang and Vanessa Atterbeary are among the many other Democratic contenders in the crowded race.

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