WASHINGTON — A new political action committee says it plans to spend a quarter million dollars on 2014 congressional candidates who support "progressive" national security policies.
Former naval intelligence analyst Jim Arkedis launched 4D PAC (the D's stand for democracy, diplomacy, development, and defense) this week. The idea grew out of VetPAC, which supported Democratic veterans running for Congress. The new organization will have a broader scope.
"We wanted to rebrand this so we could focus on a broader set of national security issues," Arkedis told BuzzFeed, including "supporting increased levels of aid and making sure there's money to support democratic institutions" abroad.
But "not necessarily forcing the adoption of democratic institutions at the working end of an Abrams tank."
The PAC is still in the beginning stages, and Arkedis and his co-founders, Brad Elkins and Kevin McTigue, are in the throes of rounding up a donor base, he said. They're trying to raise and spend $250,000 this cycle, though Arkedis declined to name which candidates the PAC plans to endorse. Molly Allen Associates, a fundraising firm that raises money for several Democratic members of Congress, is handling the fundraising for 4D PAC.
After a year of intense scuffles between Congress and the White House on major foreign policy issues like intervening in Syria or how to handle the Iran nuclear deal, Arkedis is looking to support candidates with a progressive foreign policy that at times dovetails with the administration, stressing multilateralist diplomacy and assistance for developing countries.
"I would say 'progressive internationalism,'" Arkedis said when asked what kind of ideology the PAC espouses, and told BuzzFeed to steer clear of the "liberal interventionist" label.
"We would support the Obama administration's approach to Iran currently," Arkedis said when asked if the PAC would support candidates who favored implementing new Iran sanctions now.
Arkedis said he saw the PAC as a 10- to- 15-year project and that it's the only political action committee involved in 2014 focusing exclusively on national security and foreign policy issues.
"There are other organizations like the National Security Network, which does a lot of messaging," Arkedis said, "but there's nobody who really does a full-throated endorsement of candidates that are seeking to speak to the full basket of national security issues."
The PAC is planning a kickoff breakfast later in February and a happy hour with Rep. Derek Kilmer, a Washington Democrat.