It is impossible to divine the mission of the American Foundations Committee from its website. Below scenes of the Founders, bullet points decry excessive entitlements, soaring debt, an unfair tax code, and excessive regulation. At the bottom of the home page, bracketed by pictures of Independence Hall and Abraham Lincoln, is a request for donations to support candidates who share the group's vision.
The American Foundations Committee is an independent expenditure-only political action committee, commonly known as a super PAC. What makes it different from the super PACs you've heard so much about in this campaign, such as American Crossroads affiliated with Karl Rove, is that it is supporting just one candidate: Republican George Holding, a former U.S. attorney running for Congress in North Carolina's 13th District. That is the group's sole purpose. It provides the most dramatic early example of super PACs backing a single House candidate, akin to the super PACs that sprang up this election cycle solely to support certain presidential candidates and a few marquee Senate hopefuls.
More than $400,000 of the donations to the American Foundations Committee have come from six people named Holding, suggesting a certain family tie. And AFC has spent some $535,000 of the at least $563,000 it has raised on a stream of television ads blasting Holding's main rival in the May 8 GOP primary, former Raleigh Mayor Paul Coble, a nephew of the late Sen. Jesse Helms. "This is a guy whose family wants to buy him a seat in Congress," Coble complains.