'Reviewing AIPAC’s history since its 1963 creation reveals a consistently well organized campaign of manipulation and evasion of the US election law as one necessary ingredient to its invincible image on Capitol Hill. The American Israel Political Affairs Committee has long claimed it is not a political action committee, that they do not endorse candidates nor provide financial donations to political campaigns. As with all things involving AIPAC, there is another side to the story.
As the result of a 1988 Sixty Minutes interview by Mike Wallace, it became clear that AIPAC had a long history of involvement in US electoral politics as it targeted non-AIPAC members of Congress for defeat with the use of “80 shell-front pro-Israel PACs.” Unfortunately, Wallace never inquired whether AIPAC was in compliance with the Federal Election Commission laws. It comes as no surprise to know they were not and continue to resist efforts at accountability or adhering to the standard rule of registering as a foreign entity.
Soon after Sixty Minutes aired, a memo written by AIPAC’s Deputy Political Director Elizabeth Schrayer in 1986 became public. In that memo, Schrayer instructed her assistant to direct AIPAC affiliated PAC’s; that is those PACs with non- identifiable AIPAC names, to channel political donations into the campaigns of AIPAC’s favored candidates.
The Wall Street Journal would later estimate that AIPAC donated more than $7 Million to candidates during the 1986 election cycle in violation of US election law.
The Sixty Minutes interview and Schrayer’s memo provided the necessary incentive for legal efforts to require AIPAC to conform to US election law. An Administrative Complaint was filed in 1989 with the Federal Election Commission on behalf of seven retired US Government officials citing a “consistent, long standing pervasive pattern of violating numerous provisions” of Federal Election Campaigns Act of 1971 and that these “violations are part of a concerted effort to influence Congress to take actions that favor the state of Israel.”
The Complaint Petitioners included former US Ambassadors James Akins and Andrew Killgore, former Deputy Secretary of State George Ball, former USIA Richard Curtis, former US Rep. Paul Findlay, Robert Hanks, ret.US Navy Admiral, and former Amideast President Orin Parker.
In addition, the Complaint identified 24 pro-Israel PACs that acted as shell-front affiliates and participated in a “campaign of collusion” in order to evade FEC’s legal reporting requirements. With the participation of innocuous sounding PAC’s such as San Franciscans for Good Government PAC or the Desert Caucus, all of which were organized by AIPAC from the ground up, AIPAC was able to funnel generous contributions beyond the $10,000 legal limit per PAC. AIPAC’s cover was sufficient to influence the outcome of numerous elections without the donation being publicly attributed as pro-Israel. AIPAC alleged that the affiliated PACs were part of its membership and not a political organization as it refused the FEC request to open their financial records for inspection.'
Read more: AIPAC and the Federal Election Commission
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