Election filings show fundraising surge for AIPAC as it focuses against 'the squad'

Election filings show fundraising surge for AIPAC as it focuses against 'the squad'
AIPAC has fundraised off of Hamas's attack on Israel and its war in Gaza, while Rashida Tlaib has also seen a surge in donations with her anti-war messaging.
2 min read
Washington, DC
02 February, 2024
AIPAC and its affiliates are seeing major donations in their effort to oust squad members in their primaries. [Getty]

With the second half of 2023's campaign donations filings reported this week, there is a clear focus on targeting members of "the squad", particularly by the political action committee affiliated with the Israeli lobby group AIPAC.

The United Democracy Project, a super PAC launched by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been working to unseat members of the squad in their primary races since its establishment in 2021, raised US$35 million in the second half of 2023 and ended last year with almost US$41 million in cash on hand at the beginning of the reporting period.

UDP's major donors include WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, and hedge fund manager Paul Singer. It is noteworthy that these men are not only key donors to AIPAC, but they are also well-known conservatives who are essentially trying to influence the opposing party's primary race through their donations.

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Among the main targets this primary season are Jamaal Bowman of New York, Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. So far, it appears that AIPAC has not found a viable candidate to run against Michigan's Rashida Tlaib.

AIPAC and its affiliates, which have ramped up efforts to defeat squad members with their vocal opposition to Israel's war in Gaza, set record fundraising numbers last year. UDP's numbers for the second half of 2023 are around the same as those for the entire previous year.

Much of AIPAC's fundraising success from the end of last year can be attributed to Israel's war in Gaza, which AIPAC and its affiliates were able to use to solicit donations following Hamas's 7 October surprise attack on Israeli military bases and civilian settlements within and around "the Gaza envelope".

Meanwhile, Tlaib, who has long been a target for AIPAC, has raised US$3.6 million since October, mainly in small donations, possibly a sign that her anti-war message is appealing to voters.