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Key Pro-Israel Group Reports Record Fundraising As It Targets The ‘Squad’

The super PAC affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which plans to spend record money unseating progressive members of the “Squad,” raised $35 million in the second half of 2023, new disclosures show, and ended the year with nearly $41 million in cash on hand.

The super PAC, United Democracy Project, continued its trend of raking in large donations from Republican megadonors, with seven-figure donations from WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, and hedge fund manager Paul Singer. Democratic donor and investor Haim Saban also donated $1 million. The Kraft Group, which is chaired by Trump donor and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, donated $500,000.

UDC’s six-month haul of $35 million is roughly equal to its fundraising for the entire year of 2022.

AIPAC also hailed “record” fundraising by its political action committee, which is limited to taking small-dollar donations. Through the end of 2023, it raised nearly $21 million.

“This direct fund-raising enabled us to back a majority of House members from each party and be one of the top fund-raisers for Democrats and Republicans in Congress,” Michael Tuchin, AIPAC’s president, wrote in an email to members. The money, he added, will enable the group to send “a message to those trying to undermine America’s relationship with Israel.”

On Thursday, The Lever reported that wealthy donors pledged AIPAC more than $90 million in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. AIPAC denied the report, which The Lever drew from internal documents and copies of wire transfers, saying the information was “misstated, misinterpreted, inaccurate.”

AIPAC’s sights are on the most outspoken critics of Israel’s war offensive in Gaza, such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the lone Palestinian American member of Congress.

Its outside spending has fueled outrage among progressives who see the group as laundering Republican money into Democratic primaries. Members like Reps. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who have all drawn primary challengers and expect those challengers to receive AIPAC funding, have called on party leadership to play harder defense.

Last month, Lee reported a fundraising record of $1 million in three months. Lee overcame $4 million that UDC spent to defeat her in the 2022 midterms. But the onslaught in 2024 will almost certainly be greater. In November, “close watchers” told Slate they expect AIPAC to raise $100 million.