Until last year, Wisconsin attorney Christine Bremer Muggli had never donated to a super PAC.
But records show she contributed $100 to a super PAC called Ready for Hillary in August. Then, in September, she gave the group another $100. And by the end of December, she had given $400 to the nascent organization that wants Democrat Hillary Clinton to again occupy White House — this time as commander in chief.
“Hillary Clinton deserves to be the first woman president,” Bremer Muggli told the Center for Public Integrity. “I wanted to jump in early and say ‘Please run’ right away.”
Like other super PACs, Ready for Hillary can trace its origins to the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, which helped paved the way for political action committees to raise unlimited sums of money to call for the election or defeat of candidates.
President Barack Obama, under whom Clinton served as secretary of state, said in 2010 that he couldn’t “think of anything more devastating to the public interest” than Citizens United.
But unlike most other super PACs, Ready for Hillary is attempting to convert rank-and-file Democratic donors — who, like Obama, have generally expressed skepticism, if not outright hostility, toward super PACs and the Citizens United decision — into financial backers.
That means finding a lot more people like Bremer Muggli — passionate supporters willing to give their money to an unproven but unfettered outside operation, instead of, or in addition to, a political party or authorized campaign committee. It’s also a super PAC with no guarantees, as Clinton herself could choose not to run.
So far, in this regard, financial filings suggest Ready for Hillary is succeeding. And as Ready for Hillary continues to win over grassroots donors, it is helping mainstream the Democratic Party’s embrace of super PACs.
Even as Bremer Muggli — a die-hard Democrat who serves on the Democratic National Committee — says she’d prefer to see publicly funded elections, she also sees the value in co-opting the political tools so often wielded by billionaires such as Republican casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson.
“Super PACs can be anything,” she said. “Until we have a change in the law, we have to do what we can.”