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Published — June 10, 2013 Updated — May 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm ET

Super PAC leader undeterred by criminal conviction

Pennsylvanian acknowledges legal woes could hurt political committee’s fundraising

Introduction

A criminal record isn’t keeping one young moderate from operating new a super PAC.

Jonathan Fauber, a 22-year-old Mechanicsburg, Pa. native, recently filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form the PA Victory Fund, which he tells the Center for Public Integrity will seek to support “pragmatic, practical” candidates from either party in federal and state races in the Keystone State.

But Fauber, who currently works as a bank teller at a Wells Fargo branch in Mechanicsburg, was banned from the Virginia Tech campus last year because of an incident in which a court found him guilty of trespassing.

The Virginia Tech Police Department initially arrested Fauber in August for “threaten[ing] bodily harm,” according to the department’s crime log. Virginia Tech police declined to provide further information regarding the arrest when contacted Monday.

Virginia court records indicate Fauber then faced a charge of extortion in writing — a low-level felony. But the charges were ultimately lowered to misdemeanor trespassing, for which Fauber was found guilty and ordered to complete community service, records show.

Fauber, who deemed the affair “a misunderstanding with an ex-girlfriend,” says he plans to appeal his ban from the Virginia Tech campus.

When asked if the incident could hinder his group’s fundraising efforts, Fauber responded, “Absolutely.”

“It’s on Google,” he added. “It will be there forever.”

Nonetheless, Fauber said he plans to solicit small-dollar donations, from friends and family at first, and encourage younger voters to get involved in the political process.

“It’s not so much about big money, but being smart with the money you have,” Fauber said.

While Fauber is a registered Republican, he said he felt a super PAC was the most effective way to express his voice because he does not want to be “tied down” to a specific party or candidate.

“I try to model my philosophy after Jon Huntsman,” Fauber said, referring to the former Utah governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

Fauber said he has never donated to a political campaign before, but volunteered for GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain during the last two elections.

Fauber is not the only twentysomething to form a super PAC in the wake of the 2010 SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission decision, which gave rise to these high-powered political committees that may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on politics as long as they do not coordinate with candidates.

Last election cycle, Liberty for All, the super PAC of 21-year-old John Ramsey, a Stephen F. Austin State University student and Ron Paul devotee, spent more than $1.7 million in an effort to elect a select group of Republicans running for office, according to Center for Responsive Politics data. Mother Jones previously reported that Ramsey helped initially fund the group with $890,000 he inherited from his grandfather.

Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert also inspired a number of students from college campuses all across the country to create spinoffs of his former super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Read more in Federal Politics

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