POLITICS
11/20/2013 07:15 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2013

Shutdown Pushed Senate Conservatives Fund's Fundraising Down In October

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Conservatives Fund, a leader in the push to defund Obamacare, saw its fundraising drop in October as its strategy fizzled and the government reopened with the health care law intact.

In October, the conservative political action committee raised $982,753, according to a monthly report filed on Wednesday. The October haul was the third highest of the year for the group, but it was down from the record numbers the group put up prior to the 16-day government shutdown.

In August, the group raised $1.5 million and in September, it pulled in $2.1 million. Much of this money was raised through a campaign on the group's "Don't Fund Obamacare" web site, with support from tea party Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The site featured a petition that received more than 2 million signatures; petition signers were directed to a fundraising page asking for $25 contributions.

After Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) worked to pass a continuing resolution with Senate Democrats that did not defund the health care law, the conservative group endorsed a series of primary candidates who were challenging Republican incumbents. The group backed McConnell's challenger Matt Bevin, and Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel in his challenge against Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

Since then, Senate Conservatives Fund and its sister super PAC, Senate Conservatives Action, have spent more than $700,000 in those two primary elections.

Republican Party insiders attacked Senate Conservatives Fund as the group pressed the party to adopt its hardline stance against the health care law. In particular, they criticized the group's advertising campaign in August and September targeting only Republican senators.

Former National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh blasted the group for using attacks on fellow Republicans as a fundraising gimmick.

"Pointing fingers and attacking Republicans is apparently a very profitable fundraising business," Walsh wrote in U.S. News & World Report.

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