From billionaires to political action committees, outside entities are eyeing the 25th Congressional District race and donating large independent expenditures.
Katie Hill, Rep. Steve Knight’s challenger, previously pledged not to take money from corporate PACs for her campaign. Hill had not taken any money directly from corporate PACs as of a week out from the election, according to Federal Election Commission filings. But, that has not stopped outside groups from taking an interest and spending millions on her behalf.
The biggest outside spender in the race is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who vowed to help Hill get elected by pledging $5.1 million through his political action committee Independence USA, according to the California Target Book database on campaign finance and election expenditures.
Bloomberg’s expenditures would not be filed as expenditures by the Hill campaign because it is an independent expenditure that won’t be giving her campaign money directly, according to representatives from Hill’s campaign.
An “independent expenditure” is defined as an outside expenditure that advocates for a clearly identified candidate, but is not coordinated with a candidate or the candidate’s committee, according to the Federal Election Commission guidelines.
Thus, the Bloomberg PAC spending would go toward independently pushing separate advertisements geared toward supporting Hill and urging people in the district to vote for her.
Bloomberg is spending his own money for separate advertisements targeting nine other Democratic candidates in swing districts around the country.
Last month, Bloomberg announced that he would be spending $100 million to support Democrats’ effort to take over the House of Representatives. The injection is part of a $29.5 million push in campaign advertising by Bloomberg to help Democrats in key House races around the country.
It is the most spent during that period on independent expenditures supporting or opposing a candidate, according to a USA Today survey of FEC documents.
Bloomberg spent the most on his support of the Hill campaign of the House races, according to FEC documents.
Meanwhile, the Republican incumbent Knight has also had help from independent expenditures. The GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund independently spent $3.4 million on advertisements that support Knight or oppose Hill, as part of its $38 million in television advertising pledge made in April.
Knight has not pledged to refuse money from corporate PACs, although he recently declined money from the National Rifle Association and refunded a $2,500 check.
When it comes to direct contributions, Hill has out-raised Knight in the race by over $3 million at the end of last quarter, according to FEC documents.
Between fundraising and transfers from other committees, the Hill campaign reported raising $3.8 million from July 1 to Sept. 30, while the Knight campaign reported raising $455,819 in the same period, according to Federal Election Commission documents. Hill’s campaign had $3.2 million from fundraising alone, while Knight’s fundraising total was $376,615.
Hill’s total raised for the entire election cycle is approximately $7.3 million, compared to approximately $2.3 million raised by the Knight campaign.