As if the RunEdRun.org campaign didn't have us feeling icky enough already, the Examiner highlights some dodgy politics behind the campaign's funding today. Because Ed Lee is not officially running for Mayor, the committee (technically called "Progress For All") doesn't officially have a candidate. Which means they're not beholden to the same $500 individual contribution limits as the rest of the officially announced candidates.
As a PAC without a candidate rather than an independent expenditure committee, Progress For All is free to raise whatever money it wants to spend on things like: printed signs for Ed Lee, websites for Ed Lee, internet banner ads for Ed Lee (on the Examiner even), unofficial photo shoots for Ed Lee, and a campaign headquarters for Ed Lee - even though they don't have a candidate. We won't find out just how much money Progress For All has in their candidate-free coffers until next month when the Ethics Commission requires political committees to disclose their finances, but Enrique Pearce, who is heading up PFA, doesn't think the campaign is that unnatural. He points to Tom Ammiano's 1999 write-in campaign as an example of the last time a candidate was reluctant to throw their hat in the ring themselves.
If you're not totally familiar with the workings of political action committees, here's a crash course from Stephen Colbert's personal attorney Trevor Potter, who explains why Colbert can raise as much money as he wants for his next run at the presidency — as long as he turns in the proper PAC paperwork: