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Source of pro-Durant PAC’s financial backing revealed in FEC filings

Recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that a newly established and well-funded political action committee has set its sights on Alabama’s U.S. Senate race.

Alabama Patriots PAC, a newly-formed entity, has embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign promoting Mike Durant on television and digital platforms across the state.

As previously reported by Yellowhammer News, the support Durant’s candidacy has received from Alabama Patriots PAC stems from the organization More Perfect Union and its founder, Jake Harriman.

Alabama Patriots PAC on December 1 received a $1 million contribution from America’s Promise, a committee that lists Harriman as its treasurer.

While Durant’s campaign has invested a significant amount of resources toward advertising, due in part to the candidate’s willingness to invest his personal finances into the race, an independent PAC has demonstrated its commitment to promoting his candidacy as well.

Harriman in December held a meeting in Birmingham during which he outlined his political agenda as it related to the 2022 election cycle. His goal, according to a source, was to assist with the election of three like-minded candidates who would bring about certain reforms in the Senate and combat political divisiveness.

Yellowhammer News recently obtained a promotional document which outlines More Perfect Union’s mission and confirms Harriman’s agenda. The organization claims that the federal government is “broken” and cites “extremism” and “ideology” as being the driving forces behind the issue.

“There are very few groups who advocate for moderation, common sense, or middle ground,” the document reads. “In the recent past, there were elected officials on both sides of the aisle who were willing to come together and find compromise. As they have retired or left office, they have been replaced by rigid ideologues.”

According to More Perfect Union, to resolve what it identifies as being the issue would be to elect and establish a “Senate fulcrum.”

This involves electing “three new country-first candidates to the U.S. Senate in 2022” to form “a powerful swing vote for reform and smart, people-driven legislation.” The organization can accomplish this, it says, by targeting open seats it deems to be in play in “deep red and blue states.”

The document confirms that More Perfect Union plans to invest $1 million in “hard money” alongside at least $5 million in independent expenditures per race. Thus far, it appears as if More Perfect Union is holding true to its intentions.

Harriman did not respond to Yellowhammer News’ request for comment regarding his involvement in the race.

In addition to its involvement in Alabama, America’s Promise also contributed $10,000 to Pennsylvania Patriots PAC. The commonwealth-focused PAC has hit the airwaves in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Republican Primary election in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.

As to the financial backing America’s Promise has received, filings show that the sources of such support have come from four California residents, two Alabama residents from Birmingham and Huntsville, and an Indiana-based holding company.

Jeffrey Chambers of Atherton, Calif., donated $500,000 to America’s Promise in October. FEC filings show that Chambers is employed as a senior advisor at private equity firm TA Associates. Prior to his contribution to the pro-Durant PAC, his largest donation was directed to a PAC supporting 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Former Cisco Systems chairman and CEO and Republican megadonor John Chambers of Palo Alto, California, contributed $250,000 to America’s Promise.

America’s Promise in June received a $100,000 contribution from Los Angeles-based housing developer Thomas Safran. His past donations include financial backing for committees supporting the presidential candidacies of Joe Biden, Barack Obama and John Kerry, as well as the Democratic National Committee and The Lincoln Project.

Stanford University lecturer Gerald Risk, who in the past has donated to Republican causes, has contributed $400,000 to America’s Promise. Risk formerly served as vice chairman of Nashville-headquartered technology insurance company Asurion.

Asurion CEO Kevin Taweel donated $500,000 to the PAC. Taweel has lent prior financial support to numerous Republican campaigns and political action committees.

A combined $30,000 was contributed to America’s Promise from its two Alabama-based donors, Duane Donner, II and George Smith. Both are past contributors to Republican congressional candidates. Donner is the founder and CEO of Birmingham-based investment banking firm Founders Advisors. Smith is a partner at law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings LLP.

As federal law prohibits campaigns and political action committees from coordinating while a race is ongoing, it should be noted that the Durant campaign holds no control over the actions of Harriman’s PACs.

Yellowhammer News inquired with the Durant campaign regarding the candidate’s willingness to support Harriman’s political agenda if elected and asked if Durant and Harriman were associated with one another prior to the campaign.

“Mike Durant is surging in this race and his grassroots momentum is palpable. Career politicians are desperate to stop him, so each day brings a new ridiculous attack,” stated campaign spokesman Scott Stone. “Conservative Alabamians know that Mike Durant will be the strongest America First candidate to take on Joe Biden and stop the socialists who are destroying our country.”

A first-time candidate for public office, “Black Hawk Down” U.S. Army veteran Mike Durant is a newcomer to Alabama’s political arena. Prior to his entry into the race, Durant’s previous political experience only extended to serving in veterans leadership positions on President George W. Bush’s successful 2004 reelection campaign and former U.S. Sen. John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential bid.

Aside from his formerly-held campaign roles and participating in elections as a voter, Durant has not actively involved himself in politics.

In early September, Yellowhammer News first reported Durant’s interest in potentially launching a senatorial bid. The following month, he formally declared his candidacy. As he announced his campaign, many political observers across the state viewed Durant as an interesting candidate due to his well-documented military service.

In the months that followed, Durant adopted a strategically-messaged advertising campaign which saw the candidate’s name identification grow among the Republican electorate. According to recent polling, Durant’s support among Republican voters has risen substantially since his candidacy’s launch.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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