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Published — May 28, 2014

Ready for Hillary no longer just a super PAC

Change in status allows pro-Clinton group to donate directly to candidates


Ready for Hillary is now primed to pump Democratic congressional candidates full of cash.

The pro-Clinton super PAC today filed paperwork to convert itself into a hybrid PAC. This relatively new type of political committee may raise unlimited amounts of money to advocate for and against candidates — and at the same time collect limited amounts of cash to give directly to candidates.

In doing so, the organization aims to put renewed punch into its promise to this year support Clinton’s allies during this year’s midterm elections.

“Ready for Hillary and our more than two million supporters are not only excited about encouraging Hillary to run in 2016, but also excited to be working to elect Democrats in 2014,” spokesman Seth Bringman said in an email to the Center for Public Integrity. “This is another tool that we now have available to us to help in that effort.”

How many candidates does Ready for Hillary plan to contribute to during the midterms — and which ones?

That’s still unclear.

Said Bringman: “So far the only decision that has been made is the decision to create the option” to make direct donations to candidates.

Ready for Hillary’s shift in operating status comes as Democrats are struggling this year to retain their slim majority in the U.S. Senate. Democrats’ hopes of retaking a majority in the U.S. House, meanwhile, are rapidly disappearing.

Ready for Hillary formed in early 2013 with the goal of laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run by Clinton, who has not announced her future political intentions. Nevertheless, a number of high-profile politicos have already endorsed a second Clinton White House bid.

The committee hasn’t acted like many big-dollar super PACs, eschewing massive television and radio advertising blitzes in favor of grassroots organizing, direct mail and online messaging, among other efforts.

It’s also set a voluntary donation cap of $25,000, even though super PACs and hybrid PACs may accept any size donation to use toward independently boosting or slamming political candidates.

Ready for Hillary reported more than $857,000 in available cash through March 31, according to its most recent financial filing with the Federal Election Commission. It spent nearly $1.6 million during the first three months of the year, with direct mail, travel, printing, consulting fees and staff salaries among its biggest expenses.

Since its formation, it’s raised more than $5.7 million — ranking it among the most financially successful super PACs this election cycle.

As a hybrid PAC, Ready for Hillary will maintain a separate fund from which it may make direct contributions to candidates. For such donations, it must adhere to federal law that allows traditional political action committees and hybrid PACs to give federal-level candidates $5,000 per election.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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