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PAC's New Mission Surprises GOP Donors

In several cases, politicians said they would hesitate before financially supporting the organization, now that it has taken a stand against delegates.

"I prefer that we all support our party," Connaughton said. He gave three donations that totaled $925. Asked whether he would contribute to such a fundraiser now, he said: "I think we would have to think long and hard about participating."

The PAC's executive director, Robin DeJarnette, a longtime GOP activist, confirmed that at the time of the donations, the committee had not decided to challenge the House mavericks.

"It would be unfair to hold those guys accountable to what we decided," DeJarnette said. "We made that decision in January after we polled several districts."

But some Republicans pointed out that another political action committee -- organized to support the Republican delegates who voted for the tax increases -- also has strayed from its original intent.

Leadership for Virginia has raised more than $800,000 for its cause, but the first candidate it supported was Paula Miller, a Norfolk Democrat who beat a conservative Republican for an open delegate's seat in December. The PAC's executive director, James Hazel, said his group always has been bipartisan, but some Republicans said they were angry that money they believed would help Republicans went to a Democrat.

One of Virginia Conservative Action PAC's targeted lawmakers said he is not concerned about the contributions and is satisfied with the public and private statements of support from his colleagues.

"I think [Republicans] have a perfect right to contribute to any organization they care to," Parrish said. He said he has sat in on PAC meetings and agrees with some of the group's positions on such social issues as abortion.

He added, however: "I don't agree that they should get into political campaigns."

Staff writer Michael D. Shear contributed to this report.

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