Deep Sea Burial forms first corporate ‘super PAC’

The first corporate “super PAC” has arrived, though the company in question is not exactly a household name.

Deep Sea Burial Corp., a Florida company that offers “the world’s greenest burial alternative,” has formed the “American Phoenix Superpac” with plans to spend up to $5 million in federal and state elections, according to the firm.

Company president Michael Benjamin said in a telephone interview Monday that the super PAC will be focused on easing government red-tape surrounding sea burials and “14 or 15 other issues” related to the environment.

“We will be involved in all levels, from local to congressional to presidential,” Benjamin said. “We want to make it easier and more mainstream.”

So-called super PACs emerged last year following the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. The decision eased decades of restrictions on corporate involvement in politics, including making it possible for a company to run a political-action committee unbound from financial limits.

So far, however, traditional corporations have steered clear of directly forming super PACs, leaving it to various trade groups, advocacy organizations and unions to lead the charge.

Deep Sea Burial Corp. of Hialeah, Fla., claims to offer “carbon neutral burial” inside a “patented burial enclosure,” according to its Web site. The deceased will “become a permanent reef with a million dollar view—no darkness or smoky fires.”

Benjamin, who said he was a former shrimp farmer, said the new business has yet to perform a human burial but “we have done testing with animals.” He complained that sea burials are made too difficult by state and federal paperwork.

“We need to get some government help to make this less difficult,” he said.

Benjamin said he has hopes of raising up to $5 million for his cause, but said he hadn’t yet decided which races or candidates to focus on.

Deputy Editor, National Politics

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