Politics & Government

Hipster political committee focused on creating ‘a viral campaign’

Some political action committees in Washington pour big money into local elections this time of year. Then there are those other PACs – the ones that don’t make big donations or expenditures, but still aim to make a statement.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Hipster Political Action Committee of Washington falls into the latter category. Its slogan: “We wanted a better tomorrow before you did.”

The Hipster PAC is like more than one-third of the 440 continuing PACs registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission: As of this week, it had reported no financial activity in 2014.

Along with many other small political committees, the Hipster PAC has pledged that it won’t raise or spend more than $5,000, meaning it doesn’t have to report its donors and expenditures to the state.

But the Hipster PAC still has a message to convey within that budget, said Craig Sloughter, a West Richland resident and former city council candidate who helped found the group last year.

“Our focus has been on a viral campaign,” Sloughter, 24, wrote in an email to The News Tribune. “We don’t support any particular party, and issues we decide (to) support as they come.”

“Our main goal is to promote candidates and views we think enhance the Pacific Northwest, and create a better tomorrow for everyone.”

The group’s activity so far has been confined mainly to Facebook ads, along with behind-the-scenes work to get a website up and running, Sloughter said. (Stay tuned for that website, it’s still a work in progress.)

In 2013 the Hipster PAC was mainly active in Central Washington, spending much of its time opposing West Richland mayoral candidate Merle Johnson, Sloughter said.

The hipsters also took issue last year with state Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, who introduced legislation in 2013 that would have allowed business owners to deny service to customers based on religious beliefs. Brown introduced her legislation after a Richland flower business refused to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding, an act that prompted the state Attorney General’s Office to file a consumer protection suit against the florist.

Sloughter said the group hopes to be more active in the 2016 election cycle and eventually expand its geographic reach.

Why call it the Hipster PAC, though?

“Our name we came up with because it is catchy and funny,” Sloughter wrote. “We try and promote our ideas in a satirical way.”

Sloughter added that most of the half-dozen or so people involved with the PAC are in their 20s.

A quick glance at other small PACs registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission shows that hipsters aren’t the only ones looking to make a difference on a small budget. The Washington Pirate Party is in the same boat.

The party’s mission, according to its Facebook page, is “to steal back the government and give it to the people it's supposed to represent.” Its Facebook profile pic is a graphic of George Washington with an eyepatch.

Other PACs of varying sizes but with attention-grabbing names include:

• 

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

: This group out of Vancouver, Washington, aims to get more women involved in leadership roles in Southwest Washington. The name is based on the William Ross Wallace poem, “The Hand the Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World” – not

the 1992 horror film

of the same name.



• Political Destiny: Operating in Tacoma, the City of Destiny, this group is run by Gregory Christopher, the senior pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church near the Tacoma Mall.



• Also, former state representative-turned-King County Councilman Dave Upthegrove has a PAC named ... you’ll never guess.



UpthePAC.

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