What does moderate Republican Andrew Roraback have in common with the conservatives in Ohio? On the surface, very little.
But right after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, held a fundraiser in Hartford this week for Roraback, a Super PAC based in Ohio said it would spend more than $1 million running ads for the Republican and opposing Elizabeth Esty, his Democratic rival for the 5th District congressional seat.
It has reserved more than $300,000 in air time on the CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox affiliates in the Hartford-New Haven market, according to purchase records on the Federal Communications Commission web site. No expenditures, however, in the race are listed yet with the Federal Election Commission.
The Columbus, Ohio-based PAC is called the Government Integrity Fund Action Network.
Boehner’s office did not return phone calls requesting comment.
Neither did the PAC’s treasurer, Columbus attorney William Todd.
Roraback’s campaign says it doesn’t know anything about the PAC.
And the PAC has filed as a 501(c)(4), which means it has to report its fundraising and spending to the IRS but can keep the identity of its donors a secret.
Yet ProPublica has discovered some things about the PAC.
* Its chairman is a Tom Norris, a Columbus lobbyist, who also failed to return calls.
* Its budget for the 2012 election is $6.7 million.
* The only other campaign it is involved in is a Senate race in Ohio between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and his GOP challenger, Josh Mandel.
* Jonathan Petrea, previously the Ohio grass-roots director for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative Super PAC backed by the Koch brothers, helped find donors to the Government Integrity Fund Action Network.
Involvement of the independent PAC — which is barred from direct cooperation with any candidate or campaign — in Connecticut’s 5th District race may level the playing field for Roraback, who has been pummeled by attack ads sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC has spent about $1.2 million on those ads.
The Government Integrity Fund Action Network’s ad blitz is slated to begin Monday and run until Election Day.