New PAC on the Block; Hands Out $117,000 in First Month

A new Tennessee PAC took $126,000 from its parent organization in Washington on Dec. 8, 2011, then distributed $117,000 of the money to state legislator campaign causes by Jan. 9, 2012, according to its first campaign finance disclosure.
Andy Sher has more:
Tennessee Parents/Teachers Putting Students First… is the creation of StudentsFirst, a group pushing its version of education reform. The group was created by Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., school system. Rhee is the ex-wife of state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, whose boss is Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.
(Note: Students First also did a state poll – apparently paying for it outside the PAC, which discloses no poll spending – and provided the results to legislative leaders, several of whom received PAC money. The poll found the public supports proposals the group is pushing. It also shows the Legislature has a 63 percent approval rating among voters. See post below, or direct link to Tennessean story HERE.)
All of the PAC’s $126,000 in funding comes from StudentsFirst. The StudentsFirst PAC ranked No. 5 in contribution to individual lawmakers or legislative candidates with $65,400. Most contributions went to Republicans, who dominate the General Assembly these days. But Democrats were not forgotten.
The Senate Republican Caucus received $10,000 as did the House Republican Caucus. The PAC gave $5,000 each to the House Democratic Caucus and the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey’s leadership committee, RAAMPAC, got $5,000 as did Ramsey’s personal campaign. Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell got $5,000 for her leadership committee, Harwell PAC, and another $5,000 for her personal campaign.

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