Does Bernie Sanders Have A Super PAC? The Answer Is Complicated
Bernie Sanders was caught in a bit of bind after news broke that he has received campaign donations from Super PACs — groups of private individuals who are allowed to funnel virtually unlimited amounts of money to candidates — despite his repeated, strident opposition to them. Does Bernie Sanders really have the support of any Super PACs? Sanders came out strong against them in his recent Oklahoma City speech, as well as while he was a Senate candidate. While a healthy dose of skepticism is always recommended when it comes to politicians, in this case, the answer isn't as bad as you think.
Sanders has been a long-time critic of Super PACs and their abilities to shower candidates with money and support, no matter what voters think of them. In this case, however, the Super PACs supporting Sanders aren't coming from anonymous billionaires. One of the Super PACs that has been supporting Sanders is the political action committee arm of National Nurses United, a union of professional nurses. They've spent $1.7 million of their money, collected in the form of dues, to bolster the populist candidate from Vermont after internal polling showed overwhelming support from nurses who are members. This isn't necessarily the scary dark money pool that Super PACs are often made out to be.
The other Super PAC that has donated to the campaign is an organization based in California called Progressive Kick. Established in 2008, they played an instrumental role in keeping the 2012 Senate race competitive and helped elect Tammy Baldwin, the first out lesbian to serve in the Senate as well as the first woman from Wisconsin. Progressive Kick sent a $5,000 contribution to the Sanders campaign, according to CNN.
Sanders may have the support of two Super PACs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's sold out to Wall Street or the Koch brothers just yet. It's just the reality of operating a competitive campaign in the post-Citizens United world.