Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Battle of the PACs in Orange County Congressional race

Political ads are designed to attract attention. But a new ad by the candidate challenging an Orange County Congressman is shining a light on the political action committee that paid for the TV spot.  

The ad for Democrat Jay Chen looks like a 1960’s black-and-white horror movie, complete with monsters and a screaming blonde. The announcer says it's a "creature from Washington: Ed Royce. His votes are real, but we can stop him."

Royce, the ten-term Republican Congressman from Fullerton, objects to the political action committee that financed the ad: America Shining. Filings with the Federal Election Commission show the entire 565-thousand dollars in America Shining’s account come from one person: Shaw Chen, the candidate’s brother. 

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, says it's unusual for a relative to organize a super PAC, but "not unheard of." She says it’s perfectly legal as long as there’s no coordination with the candidate, which Jay Chen has said is true in this case.