'Billionaires for Bernie' Group Is Formed, With Neither Billionaires Nor Bernie

The candidate's distaste for super-PACs hasn't stopped some political activists.

SANDERS CAMPAIGN

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.

Photographer: Christopher Dilts/ Bloomberg

Bernie Sanders, the liberal Vermont senator seeking the Democratic nomination for president, has repeatedly discouraged the formation of super-PACs supporting his candidacy. That hasn't stopped some political activists from doing it anyway.

The latest is Eric C. Jacobson, a Los Angeles lawyer who filed papers today with the Federal Election Commission to form a super-PAC he calls Billionaires for Bernie. Jacobson, 60, describes himself as a public-interest lawyer and activist who once volunteered on Gary Hart's campaigns. He says he's never met Sanders and doesn't have any billionaires lined up yet, but he already has some ideas for whom to contact, such as Michigan heiress Ronda Stryker.

Unlike many liberals, Jacobson celebrated the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision to loosen restrictions on big money in political races, and he's not troubled that Sanders himself is discouraging such efforts.

“If it was good enough for the Founders to pledge their fortunes to found the country,” he said, “how could it be wrong for the well-heeled people of our time to pledge their fortunes to affect the destiny of our country?”

Jacobson's first task may be to come up with a new name. It's illegal for super-PACs to use the name of the candidates they support.

“Thank you for the heads up,” Jacobson said when asked about the legality of the name, adding that he would check with the FEC. “That is something I probably should have caught if it's true.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE