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Arkansas poultry executive seeds new super PAC in Koch-backed network

The head of an Arkansas poultry company gave $500,000 to help start a new super PAC connected to a political network backed by the Kochs and other donors on the right.

Ronald Cameron, president and chief executive of Mountaire Corp., made the first donation to Freedom Partners Action Fund, making the contribution through his Little Rock-based company, according to the group's first campaign finance disclosure.

The contribution, first reported by Bloomberg, was the only donation the group received in its first two weeks of existence. Since then, other contributors have made commitments to the super PAC, said spokesman James Davis.

The new organization is an offshoot of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a tax-exempt business lobby that is part of an expansive political network started by the industrialists Charles and David Koch and now funded by hundreds of conservative donors. This year, the network is expected to spend nearly $300 million to boost congressional Republicans and to strengthen conservatives in advance of the 2016 White House race.

Until now, the network has been made up of solely tax-exempt groups such as Americans for Prosperity, which are not required to reveal their contributors. But such nonprofits face limits on their election-related activities.

The super PAC can spend unlimited sums that directly benefit candidates. However, it must disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission.

Freedom Partners Action Fund expects to raise and spend $15 million in this year’s midterms.

The group “will support candidates who share our vision of free markets and a free society and oppose candidates who support intrusive government policies that push the American Dream out of reach for the American people,” Davis said.

While Charles and David Koch did not donate to the super PAC in its first few weeks, David Koch gave $2.5 million to the Republican Governors Association in May, part of the group’s $24 million haul in the second quarter of the year, according to an Internal Revenue Service filing. The Democratic Governors Association pulled in less than $14 million in the same period.

Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.

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