Lame-duck congressman announces plans for PAC

THOMAS J. SHEERAN Associated Press Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Lame duck U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced Monday that he was creating a political action committee to train a new generation of like-minded liberal leaders.

"Our movement is and always has been about more than one leader or one campaign," Kucinich, D-Ohio, told backers in an email message asking for PAC contributions. "It's about taking back control of our politics, and taking charge of the debate."

Kucinich, a two-time candidate for president and former Cleveland mayor, was defeated in March by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, of Toledo, in a Democratic primary set up by Republican redistricting.

Kucinich said his PAC will train people with leadership skills for government decision-making at all levels.

"Kucinich Action is a natural evolution of what our movement has been doing: standing up, speaking out, acting on our beliefs, and leading to change the outcome on behalf of the people," he said.

"It is also about enabling individuals to acquire the skills to participate and engage in the process of government decision-making at all levels."

Kucinich said the PAC would serve as a counterweight to conservative super PACs and would allow him to stay active in politics.

"This speaks to what I'll be doing politically," he said in a phone interview from Washington. "I don't have any plans to run for office at this time and the foreseeable future. But I certainly intend to help people who really deserve help and to try to enable them to get elected, as well as to help on issues."

By law, Kucinich Action money could not be converted into campaign funds if he runs for office, Kucinich said.

PACs affiliated with politicians span a wide spectrum.

Sarah Palin's PAC raised more than $750,000 from April through June and the Majority PAC aiding Democratic Senate candidates reported taking in $6.1 million through May 23.

Kucinich, aware of the political risks from redistricting in Ohio, had toyed with the idea of running for Congress in the Pacific Northwest and made a half-dozen visits to Washington State.

Last week, he marked the 11th anniversary of a signature initiative, his introduction of a bill to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace.

"We must embrace a Department of Peace as a way to address not only violence in our schools but the violence that exists in our homes, workplaces and institutions throughout our communities both nationally and internationally," he said.

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