Is it the vast right-wing conspiracy?
With more than three years until the next presidential election, Republican operatives are launching a super PAC called the Hillary Project -- presumably aiming to derail a prospective Hillary Clinton bid for the White House -- according to papers filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday.
Its treasurer is Christopher Marston, the man behind a super PAC that helped Rick Santorum hold his own in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries with $8.5 million in expenditures, the Red, White & Blue Fund, and it lists as an address a post office box in the early primary state of New Hampshire.
The PAC's leaders, reached through Marston, did not immediately return a request for comment.
The political action committee comes on the heels of a pro-Hillary Clinton for President super PAC called Ready for Hillary, which has hired a firm run by Obama campaign veterans and set up a slick website.
"We all know that Hillary will make a fantastic President, but whether or not she gets in the race will depend in large part on what kind of enthusiasm is demonstrated for her candidacy," it says.
Republicans last month launched another website, StopHillary2016.org, which says "we can't afford another Clinton administration after eight years of President Obama," but its website and Twitter account are empty.
The next presidential election is the first in which Republicans will be able to use super PACs, the newly legal vehicles that can spend unlimited amounts of sometimes-anonymous money, to try to sway a Democratic presidential primary. Because they are not aligned with any candidate, they lend themselves to negative ads and can start well before a Republican front-runner emerges.
Ironically, liberal super PACs appeared to meddle in the Republican primary in 2012, pushing for a Santorum win in some states because they viewed him as an easier target to beat in the general election than Mitt Romney.