Democrat Russ Feingold’s PAC spends little to support candidates. Feingold lost to Republican Ron Johnson in 2014, and just a few months later set up the Political Action Committee, Progressive United, and a non-profit, Progressives United, Inc. Only 5% of the PAC is directly funding candidates while most of the funds are directed towards fundraising and salaries, including Feingold’s own salary.
Before Feingold took his leave of absence from the PAC, he stated he founded the PAC to “combat the corrupting influence of corporate money in our elections and government.”
According to Federal Election Commission documents, the PAC spent more than $40,000 from February 2011 and June 2013 on travel expenses for Feingold and his staff. Spending was directed towards airline tickets, lavish hotel rooms, and according to Watchdog, some of the nation’s finest restaurants for its small staff. Most of 2012 was spent promoting Feingold’s book “While America Sleeps.”
As Andrea Bozek, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee said:
He was a godfather of campaign-finance reform, this was his No. 1 crusade in the Senate, and now he is so desperate to get back to Washington he's willing to throw out all of his previous convictions.
However, as Joe Fadness, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin stated,
For a politician who built a career on championing campaign finance reform, Senator Feingold has a long and hypocritical record of manipulating his own PAC for personal gain. These lavish expenditures are further proof that Progressives United was nothing more than a slush fund that Feingold used to exploit unsuspecting donors to fund his celebrity lifestyle.
Ultimately, the PAC spent above $3.50 for each $1 given to each candidate it supported.