Sunday, December 05, 2004

Kerry creates PAC to back candidates

Aim is to promote campaign's causes
By Glen Johnson, Globe Staff | December 5, 2004

Senator John F. Kerry is establishing a so-called leadership political action committee to promote Democratic candidates at the state and national level, as well as to continue pushing the agenda he promoted during his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency.

The PAC, which has yet to be named, will be based in Boston and headed by John Giesser, a lawyer and former chief operating officer of the City Year community service program.

Giesser is also a veteran political strategist who assisted Kerry with his 1996 reelection race and served as the number two general election strategist at the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. He formerly worked at the Dewey Square Group, a Boston political consulting firm, and is a close ally of both Michael Whouley and John Sasso, two veteran strategists who headed the DNC's general election efforts at various points in the 2004 campaign.

The new organization will be separate from a reelection committee Kerry recently established, Friends of John Kerry, but it will share the same focus as a leadership PAC the Massachusetts Democrat established in 2002, the Citizen Soldier Fund. Like its predecessor, it will promote candidates and causes that dovetail with Kerry's political goals. During his presidential campaign, Kerry pledged to expand access to health insurance and to protect the environment, among other goals.

A leadership PAC is a committee organized by a political figure, as opposed to one set up by corporations or labor unions.

Presidential candidates often use such committees to build friendships in early voting presidential states. Giesser insisted that Kerry was not focused on another run for the presidency in 2008, but instead on bolstering Democratic organizational efforts through an emphasis on electing the party's candidates up and down the ticket, training Democratic operatives, and continuing efforts to organize the party on a precinct-by-precinct basis.

Kerry has separately tapped some of the $15 million remaining in his presidential campaign account to provide $200,000 for Democratic recount efforts in the Washington gubernatorial race, as well as $50,000 to support the party's candidates in runoff elections in Louisiana.

Giesser said he was unsure whether Kerry would use any of his presidential money to seed his new political action committee. He said the senator plans a series of fund-raisers to finance the organization.

"We just finished a campaign," Giesser said in a telephone interview. "This is a leadership organization, an organization that is based on the vision and ideas that John Kerry will continue to fight for and that many millions of Americans support. Through this organization, John Kerry and all those who volunteered on behalf of the Democratic ticket can continue to build the Democratic Party at the grass roots, speak out, promote new policies, hold Republicans accountable, and support Democratic candidates at all levels."

Glen Johnson can be reached at


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