BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A super PAC that is supporting Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter raised $1.5 million in its first year, though donors aren't yet sure whether Vitter will run for governor or re-election to his current post.
Charlie Spies, treasurer for The Fund for Louisiana's Future, announced the pro-Vitter political action committee's fundraising figure Wednesday.
He said that details of the donations through the end of 2013 will be reported to the Federal Election Commission by the end of the month and that the PAC raised more than 70 percent of its money from Louisiana donors.
"I think it's an extraordinary level of support," said Spies, chief lawyer for prior Vitter campaigns and co-founder of the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
The dollars can be spent to independently advocate for Vitter in either the 2015 governor's race or the 2016 Senate race.
Vitter, in his second Senate term, has said he'll decide this month whether he'll run for governor. Gov. Bobby Jindal is term-limited and can't run for re-election.
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited funds to help candidates at the federal level. Louisiana caps individual contributions to PACs at $100,000 for each election cycle.
To further boost fundraising efforts, Spies is asking the state ethics board to remove Louisiana's cap, saying the limit doesn't comply with a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that barred such restrictions on super PACs.
The ethics board, which oversees campaign finance regulations in Louisiana, will consider his request next week.
If the board refuses to remove the limit, "It will surprise me if somebody doesn't file a lawsuit," Spies said.
The political action committee has been formed at both the state and federal levels to allow for the money's use in either the Senate or governor's race. Spies said the senator's supporters don't yet know if Vitter intends to run for governor.
"I hope he stays a leader on issues that impact Louisiana, but I'm confident he can do that either from the Senate or as governor," Spies said.
Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has said he intends to run for governor. So has Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Others are eyeing the position, including Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy.