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High-powered lesbians create PAC; beneficiaries to be decided
But it has not escaped her notice that lesbians such as her are in the minority at political events for gay donors, whether it’s a White House reception or a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democrat, who hopes to become the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate.
So Miss Ricketts immediately embraced an idea by a fellow Chicago businesswoman who approached her a few months ago about creating a first-of-its-kind political action committee to champion candidates and causes that appeal to lesbian voters.
LPAC, as the independent super PAC was christened, was launched Wednesday with the freedom to spend unrestricted amounts of money for or against candidates.
“Being a woman and being gay is really a unique position in our society,” said Miss Ricketts, who co-heads the Democratic National Committee's LGBT Leadership Council and is one of President Obama’s fundraising bundlers. “I know in my experience of activism, oftentimes it makes a difference if something is woman-focused. It’s likely to get the attention of women much more easily.”
LPAC’s fundraising goal for the 2012 election cycle is $1 million, a modest amount by the standards of many super PACS, including the conservative Ending Spending Action Fund founded by Miss Ricketts‘ father, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts.
LPAC beneficiaries have not been finalized, although candidates such as Miss Baldwin and campaigns to defeat ballot measures that would ban same-sex marriage or restrict access to abortion and birth control are likely to be recipients of donations.
The group’s aim to give lesbians an influential voice in mainstream politics is groundbreaking, said chairwoman Sarah Schmidt, a scion of the family behind Midwestern petroleum distributor U.S. Venture Inc.
Unlike the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which supports gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual candidates, and Emily’s List, which is dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, LPAC plans to promote men and women from either major party regardless of their sexual orientation, as well as ballot initiatives.
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