Republican-Funded PAC Unleashes Attack Ads on Summer Lee

The PAC's lone donor is billionaire GOP megadonor Jeff Yass.

Republican-Funded PAC Unleashes Attack Ads on Summer Lee
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Summer Lee (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

A super PAC funded by conservative megadonor Jeff Yass has spent more than half a million dollars in recent weeks urging Pennsylvania Democrats to support a primary challenger running against progressive House Democrat Summer Lee. 

The Moderate PAC, which was formed in 2021, is airing ads in Pennsylvania’s 12th District that attack Lee for what it calls her “extreme socialist agenda,” and calling on Democratic primary voters to choose Lee’s challenger Bhavini Patel. The ads go after Lee for criticizing President Biden and the Democratic Party, and for voting against the debt ceiling bill negotiated between Biden and former House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Lee is a member of the so-called “Squad” of progressive House Democrats that has stood apart from Democratic Party leaders on numerous policy issues, including most recently on U.S. support for Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza. 

The super PAC has spent at least $586,000 on running the ads since the middle of March, according to Federal Election Commission records. 

The only donation that The Moderate PAC has ever reported receiving is $1 million from Yass that was given to the group in July 2022. Yass is a billionaire investor who former President Trump recently said was “fantastic” after the pair connected at a donor retreat in Florida. Yass has donated more than $62 million to conservative super PAC Club for Growth Action, and $18 million to School Freedom Fund, a Club for Growth PAC that supports candidates who believe parents should receive taxpayer dollars to spend with private education companies of their choosing. Yass lives in Pennsylvania and has a net worth of about $27 billion, according to Forbes

Yass has also donated heavily to congressional Republicans. Last year he gave $10 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with House GOP leadership, and in 2018 he gave $200,000 to its upper chamber equivalent the Senate Leadership Fund. The New York Times recently reported that a Trump campaign source said that Yass is expected to make a large donation to a pro-Trump group soon, but that Yass said that he had no plans to do so.

The only other contribution The Moderate PAC has received is an in-kind donation from the House Democratic leadership-aligned House Majority PAC, which FEC records indicate has shared polling data with the group.