Congresswoman Cori Bush

Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Mo.) makes a speech as pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold a rally outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2024.

(Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

'It's Officially Begun': AIPAC's Dark Money Super PAC Targets Cori Bush

"Organized people beats organized money, and our community is ready to show that St. Louis is not for sale," said the Missouri Democrat.

A pro-Israel lobby group's super political action committee trying to unseat progressive members of Congress who condemn the Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip is this week pouring over a quarter-million dollars into advertising against Rep. Cori Bush.

Jacob Rubashkin of Inside Electionshighlighted on social media Tuesday that the United Democracy Project (UDP) is spending at least $216,310 on broadcast and $16,193 on radio.

Politicoreported that "data tracked by AdImpact show approximately $320,000 in ad reservations for cable, radio, satellite, and other formats" from the super PAC affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) through next week.

While the Missouri Democrat has three primary challengers as she campaigns for a third term in the 1st Congressional District, her top opponent in the August 6 primary is St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, who is backed by AIPAC and Republican billionaires.

"UDP, AIPAC, and their extensive network of far-right billionaires, anti-abortion extremists, and GOP megadonors have been promising to spend millions in their effort to defeat me ever since they first bribed my opponent to enter this race," Bush said in a statement to Politico. "Unfortunately for them, organized people beats organized money, and our community is ready to show that St. Louis is not for sale."

Bush delivered a similar message on social media, responding to Rubashkin's post.

Supporters of Bush also took to social media to denounce UDP's spending effort in Missouri.

"AIPAC, the Republican-bankrolled group that is investing $100 million in unseating progressives in their own primaries, is turning its focus to Cori Bush," said the Working Families Party (WFP). "Why? Because she uses her power to fight for the needs of the people—not Republican billionaires."

"We don't have the hundreds of millions AIPAC does, but we do have the people," added WFP, which has endorsed the "Squad" member. "And we know the power of the people is greater than the people in power."

Jewish Voice for Peace Action declared: "Back off, AIPAC. The people are not going to let you come for Cori Bush. Cori is fighting for justice and freedom for all of us—from St. Louis to Gaza. We won't allow far-right GOP megadonors to pit our communities against one another."

Justice Democrats also took aim at AIPAC and its affiliate, warning that "their GOP billionaires will spend millions against a former nurse and Missouri's greatest abortion rights champion—all to try and buy a seat in Congress at the expense of everyday people in St. Louis."

"If you support a champion for cease-fire, abortion rights, and our democracy against pro-genocide, pro-insurrection, anti-abortion GOP megadonors, support Cori Bush's campaign," said the progressive PAC, which also sent a fundraising email for Bush that points to the new UDP ad buys.

Another top target of UDP this cycle is Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), who will face AIPAC-endorsed Westchester County Executive George Latimer in their state's 16th Congressional District on June 25.

After UDP booked $1.9 million in television ads earlier this month, Bowman said that "this new ad spending in New York shows once and for all that my opponent, George Latimer, is bankrolled by a right-wing super PAC that has received over $40 million from Republican megadonors who want to defend Republican insurrectionists, overturn voting rights, and ban abortion nationwide."

Bowman said on social media Tuesday that "AIPAC has already spent $6 million against us!"

Noting Bowman's new video, Westchester-Putnam WFP said that "AIPAC doesn't care about our community needs. They want to defeat any congressperson that criticizes Israel. Meanwhile Israel and Hamas violate international war by killing innocent civilians."

Israel's military on Tuesday killed at least 21 Palestinians at a refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip—just two days after an Israeli airstrike and resulting fire in a Rafah "safe zone" killed 45 people and wounded hundreds more.

The new deaths and injuries in Gaza—on top of more than 36,000 Palestinians killed and 81,000 wounded since October—sparked fresh calls from progressive U.S. lawmakers for Congress and Democratic President Joe Biden to finally cut off weapons and diplomatic support to Israel.

"How many children have to die? We're past the red line," Bowman said Tuesday, referencing Biden's previous remarks. "It's time to stop sending military aid to Israel. Not one more dime. We need a permanent cease-fire now, a path to peace, and Palestinian self-determination. That is how we protect the lives of Israelis and Palestinians."

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