A new political action committee backed by a major New York hedge fund and Democratic politician turned cable news commentator Bakari Sellers plans to spend more than $1 million in a bid to oust progressive second-term Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib from the U.S. House of Representatives in November's midterm elections.
"It's flattering that billionaires who know nothing about our district are so scared of our movement."
Politico reports Urban Empowerment Action PAC announced a new campaign to "elect solutions-oriented Democrats" to Congress.
"UEA PAC's premier race will be in Michigan's 12th Congressional District, where the group plans to spend upwards of $1 million on TV, digital, mail, radio, and print advertising to support Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey in her campaign to restore infrastructure, improve educational opportunities in the district, and support the Biden-Harris agenda in D.C.," the new group said in a statement Friday.
Politico does not mention UEA's biggest contributor: According to OpenSecrets.org, the New York-based hedge fund Third Point LLC, founded by multibillionaire investor Daniel S. Loeb, has given $76,355 to the PAC.
Tlaib responded swiftly, tweeting, "Yet another Wall Street billionaire-funded Super PAC running interference in local races, spending millions to peddle lies and distortions, pushing a pro-corporate agenda on a district that has consistently stood against the corporate greed hurting our families."
According to Politico, Sellers—the former South Carolina state lawmaker and failed lieutenant governor candidate who regularly appears on CNN as a political analyst—is fundraising for UEA PAC. When asked about his endorsement of Winfrey, he told Politico's "The Recast" that "we are hoping that we can have a candidate that doesn't have varying distractions."
Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, and "Squad" colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—the first Muslim-American women elected to Congress—have been smeared as anti-Semites by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for their advocacy of Palestinian rights, their condemnation of Israeli crimes including apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and their willingness to criticize President Joe Biden over "unconditional" U.S. support for Israel.
Earlier this month, Tlaib introduced a resolution recognizing the Nakba—or "Catastrophe"—in which Zionist Jews ethnically cleansed more than 750,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homeland while establishing the nation of Israel.
Sellers, on the other hand, is a staunch supporter of Israel. He also bristles at Tlaib's vote against Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill, which she rejected after Democratic leadership broke a promise to pass the measure in tandem with the Build Back Better Act. That sweeping climate and social spending package has still not passed, in large part due to obstructionist right-wing members of Tlaib's own party.
Progressives reacted angrily to Politico's reporting.
"Fuck this. We'll make sure Rashida buries them," activist Brett Banditelli tweeted. "She represents all working-class people in her district and in her city."
Strategist Waleed Shahid tweeted: "With Islamophobia on the rise, it is disgraceful to single out the *only* Palestinian member of Congress, who is a civil rights lawyer and represents one of the most Arab-American districts. Shouldn't you focus on holding the Dem majority?"
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community and was authored by Brett Wilkins.