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Mobile Phone Company Launches Super PAC

The progressive San Francisco-based phone company known as CREDO Mobile today launched a super PAC to oust a cadre of conservative House Members that it’s calling the “Tea Party Ten.”

The CREDO super PAC aims to raise and spend $3 million in 2012 and will stay away from high-dollar broadcast ads in favor of volunteer-driven rallies, petition drives, door-knocking, and get-out-the-vote activities, said its president, Becky Bond.

“Most super PACs are created by a company or an extremely wealthy individual who wants to dump millions of dollars [into] television buys,” said Bond, who is also the political director of CREDO Mobile. “That’s not what we’re doing here.”

Instead, the CREDO super PAC is raising thousands of low-dollar, $5 and $10 donations, Bond said, and will rely on its 2.5 million members to mobilize volunteers in targeted districts. The group also will hire four to six paid field organizers in each of the districts.

A for-profit company, CREDO has used progressive activism as a marketing tool, donating 1 percent of each customer’s monthly bill to liberal nonprofits, and organizing grass-roots campaigns around issues such as environmental protection and abortion rights.

CREDO opposed the Supreme Court ruling that ushered in unrestricted super PACs and is campaigning for a constitutional amendment to reverse the ruling, Bond said. But the group won its members’ approval to form a super PAC after unrestricted PACs friendly to conservatives vastly outspent their progressive counterparts in 2010, helping Republicans take over the House, she said.

“We set about trying to change the system, and we are continuing to work on that,” Bond said, but she added: “We can’t just work on the long-term goal of reversing Citizens United and ending corporate personhood. We can’t unilaterally disarm.”

The group announced six of its 10 tea party targets today. They are: GOP Reps. Chip Cravaack (Minn.), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), Steve King (Iowa), Joe Walsh (Ill.) and Allen West (Fla.). All are in competitive races, Bond maintained.

But GOP-friendly super PACs, such as the American Action Network and the Club for Growth, can be expected to spend heavily on those races as well. The pro-Republican super PAC American Crossroads, working in tandem with its affiliated nonprofit, Crossroads GPS, has already announced plans to spend $240 million in the 2012 election.

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