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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Gillibrand's Empire state of mind

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is doubling down on her reputation as a campaign fundraiser.

Before she's even won election as New York State's junior senator, Gillibrand -- appointed a year ago -- has set up a leadership political action committee to spread money around to other federal candidates.

The new PAC shows that she is confident enough of victory to raise money for other candidates. And it also suggests she can, through her leadership PAC, secure with campaign donations some goodwill from the New York congressional delegation, reportedly cool to her in the past, and from other federal candidates across the country.

She filed papers for it before potential rival Harold Ford Jr. dropped out today. Called the Empire Political Action Committee, Gillibrand's staff filed the new PAC's registration with the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 17 and the papers became public Monday.

Her press aide Matt Canter said Gillibrand is a team player who is happy to help other Democrats.

"Leadership PACs are committees that many senators establish to help raise support for candidates all across the country. And Sen. Gillibrand believes strongly in supporting other strong Democratic leaders across New York and across the country that share progressive values and her vision for New York," Canter said.

Canter said he didn't know when Gillibrand would hold her first fundraiser for the new Empire PAC.

She's hardly joining an exclusive group, said Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the nonpartisan nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. Out of the 100 members of the senate, 89 senators already had leadership PACs.

Among them is Sen. Chuck Schumer, the senior New York senator, whose IMPACT has collected money mostly from other PACs and which donated the maximum $10,000 to Gillibrand.

Not among the senators with a leadership PAC is Sen. Michael Bennet, the Colorado Democrat also appointed to his position and running to be elected to it, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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