October 24, 2004
Category: Civil Unions
HRC PAC Giving More Than $1.8 Million to Fair-Minded Candidates
'Having allies in Congress and in the Oval Office will bring us that much closer to equality,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign political action committee will give more than $1.8 million to help fair-minded candidates secure federal offices in the 2004 election cycle, representing an almost 39 percent increase since the last cycle.
"Having allies in Congress and in the Oval Office will bring us that much closer to equality," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "We're proud to be giving more than ever before to put fair-minded candidates in the highest levels of public office."
HRC's PAC spent $1.3 million in 2002 and $1.2 million in 2000. A list of congressional endorsees - including 14 Republicans - is available here. The online endorsement list is an in-kind contribution to each of the candidates listed. Candidates who do not accept PAC funds are not listed on the website, but include Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa and Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.
HRC's PAC has endorsed more than 200 candidates in this election cycle, and had an 85 percent success rate in the last election cycle. It gives the largest amount of money to fair-minded Republicans of any gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group. HRC's PAC also ran independent expenditures this election cycle opposing anti-gay candidates across the country, which includes funding for HRC's "George W. Bush: 'You're Fired'" campaign.
This year, HRC's PAC introduced a "bundling" program that allows people who support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality to combine their contributions directly to candidates, significantly enhancing the power of the community's voice on Capitol Hill.
"When President Bush decided to play politics by trying to put discrimination in our Constitution, we had a critical but easy decision to make," added Jacques. "We drew our line in the sand and refused to endorse candidates who supported the amendment. It marked a first for our organization and we're proud to have so many candidates on the side of equality."
She continued, "For the first time ever, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans and our allies can contribute directly to candidates through HRC's website - significantly enhancing the community's power on Capitol Hill. Candidates receiving this money know it's coming from citizens who are proud to be supporting candidates who would protect the Constitution."
These HRC-endorsed candidates include Alaska's Tony Knowles and Colorado's Stan Matsunaka. Knowles' pro-fairness record stretches back to 1975 when, as an Anchorage assemblyman, Knowles voted to include sexual orientation in the establishment of the city's Equal Rights Commission. Knowles opposes any discriminatory amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including the Federal Marriage Amendment, unlike his opponent, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted for the amendment.
Matsunaka's win would replace not only a candidate who voted for the FMA but its lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Unlike Musgrave, Matsunaka understands that the Constitution is a document to protect individual rights and should not be used to institutionalize discrimination. Matsunaka also supported civil unions legislation during his time in the Colorado state Senate, and voted for enhanced penalties for hate crimes.
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The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.