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Super PACs: how a company that opposes them came to create one

CREDO Mobile, a cellphone company that describes itself as 'America’s only progressive phone company,' announced this week that it is mobilizing a super PAC to target tea party candidates.

By Staff writer / January 31, 2012



Washington

Marshaling unlimited corporate contributions to support or topple candidates, a defining feature of the 2012 presidential campaign cycle, isn’t a tool just for groups on the right, it turns out.

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CREDO Mobile, a San Francisco-based cellular phone company that describes itself as “America’s only progressive phone company,” announced this week that it is mobilizing its fledgling "super PAC (political-action committee)" for a $3 million campaign to “Take Down the Tea Party Ten” in November elections.

It’s a reach for a group that, on principle, opposed the US Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which opened the door to unlimited corporate money in political campaigns and the advent of super PACs to distribute it.

Since its founding in 1985, CREDO Mobile has mobilized its 2.5 million members on issues ranging from reproduction rights and opposition to war, to fighting the death penalty, climate change, and construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline – all funded by customers of the phone company. The CREDO website urges consumers to switch cellphone providers because AT&T “plays on the same team” as the billionaire Koch brothers, whom it describes as “the dark side of corporate America.”

So, how does a company that opposes super PACs come to create one? In short, you don’t refuse a weapon that can help in a battle over principles. There is, for instance, a super PAC dedicated to President Obama's reelection, Priorities USA Action, set up by former White House staffers.

“We don’t support super PACs, but we also saw that progressives can’t unilaterally disarm in this fight,” says CREDO SuperPAC president Becky Bond. “We’re a company. So, just like the Koch brothers, we want to start something.

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