U.S. Sen. David Vitter. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 7:12 PM
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A Washington fundraising heavyweight set up federal and state super PACs on Monday to support U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a move that heightens speculation that Vitter is eyeing a bid for governor.
Charlie Spies told The Associated Press that Vitter supporters filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and the state ethics office creating The Fund for Louisiana's Future, a pro-Vitter political action committee.
"The purpose of the super PAC is to support Sen. David Vitter and his conservative agenda for Louisiana," said Spies, chief lawyer for prior Vitter campaigns and co-founder of the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
The federal super PAC could support a Vitter re-election bid in 2016, while a state political action committee could aid him if he decides to launch a gubernatorial campaign in 2015.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal can't by law run for a third consecutive term. Vitter has sidestepped questions about his interest in the governor's race, but hasn't squelched the speculation.
"The senator is 100 percent focused and energized by his work in the U.S. Senate. Future campaigns are not on his radar right now," Vitter spokesman Joel DiGrado said in an email.
Spies wouldn't say if he expects Vitter to run for governor.
"By filing with the Federal Election Commission and the state of Louisiana, we have the flexibility to support Sen. Vitter and his agenda in any scenario," he said.
Spies' pro-Romney super PAC raised more than $150 million to support the GOP presidential candidate. He wouldn't say who else was involved in the super PAC or describe plans for any fundraising.
A statement of organization was not immediately available Monday from the FEC. The document filed with the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program creating the New Orleans-based PAC lists Spies as chairman and treasurer and estimates 25 members of the committee.
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited funds to help candidates at the federal level. Louisiana has caps that limit individual contributions to PACs to $100,000 for each election cycle.
"It's my understanding that this effort is in support of my conservative reform agenda. That's very flattering, and it's certainly important and helpful," Vitter said in a statement.
A website for the PAC was created, but details on the site were said to be "coming soon."