By David Saleh Rauf
Looking to cultivate national supporters ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run, Gov. Rick Perry has formed a federal political action committee aimed at helping like-minded Republicans in the Nov.4 elections.
Perry, who has been considering another run for president after a gaffe-filled 2012 White House bid, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week to create the PAC.
Dubbed "RickPAC," the political action committee was "established to support Republican candidates around the country that share the same goals and philosophies as Governor Perry, which are low taxes, limited government, border security and job creation," Perry spokesman Mark Miner said.
"This PAC is focused on electing Republicans," he said, adding that Perry has yet to make up his mind on whether to run for president in 2016.
Stefan Passantino, who was counsel to former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during the 2012 presidential campaign, is the treasurer of Perry's new PAC, according to the FEC filing.
The move by a politician with presidential ambitions to establish a federal PAC as a way to curry favor nationally is not new. Former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin launched a federal committee called "SarahPAC."
Perry also has some cash at his disposal that he can inject into the new PAC. He has about $4.4 million in state campaign coffers, and is expected to leave office in January with millions still in that account.
Federal law would prevent Perry from directly transferring all of the leftover state campaign money into a federal PAC he directly controls that would support his presidential run. But he can give a portion of it to his new federal PAC, which in turn would dole it out to Republicans of its choosing.
Miner said it is "premature" to talk about whether Perry will funnel any of his leftover state coffers to the PAC. "The goal," he said, "is to raise money and fund Republicans around the country."
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