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Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) , Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), from left, listen during a congressional hearing. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A national police union is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking The Squad, records show.

Why it matters: The $510,000 in spending by two PACs associated with the International Union of Police Associations is the largest independent political expenditure of the 2022 cycle to date. It appears geared less toward unseating any of the members and more toward raising money for the groups themselves.

What's happening: Both groups — Law Enforcement for a Safer America PAC and Honoring American Law Enforcement PAC — are affiliated with the International Union of Police Associations.

  • The Florida-based IUPA represents about 20,000 law enforcement professionals.
  • Together, the two PACs reported spending $127,500 attacking each of the four House Democrats in the progressive "Squad": Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
  • That's more than any independent political group has reported, so far, on a single independent expenditure in a 2022 midterm race.
  • The actual content of the text messages was not immediately clear. Neither PAC responded to requests from Axios for comment.

Between the lines: None of the four members the PACs are targeting is particularly vulnerable, suggesting the goal of the expenditures is, at least, partly to raise more money for the PACs themselves.

  • The two PACs spent nearly $18 million during the 2020 cycle. But the vast majority went toward fundraising. They spent just over 5% on political activity, much of which appears to have also asked for additional donations.
  • The IUPA union also spends the vast majority of its money on fundraising, with very little going toward grants or union representation and organizing.
  • The union and its PACs have been scrutinized over allegedly misleading fundraising practices, frequently involving telemarketing calls.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib are lightning rods for conservatives — and potent fundraising draws as a result.

  • Policing and public safety are at the forefront of the conservative political consciousness.
  • That can be lucrative for groups looking to rake in small-dollar donations from contributors not suspecting their money will be used largely to perpetuate an organization — rather than finance attacks or candidates against its opponents.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.

How extreme weather feeds inflation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This summer's extreme weather is having ripple effects that could raise food prices in the U.S. and disrupt diets around the world.

Why it matters: Climate scientists and food supply experts, like those at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, have long warned about the impact of human-caused global warming on prices, food shortages and hunger.

EA Sports is in expansion mode

EA Sports general manager Daryl Holt (left). Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photos: EA Sports

The biggest player in sports video games has plans to get even bigger — on mobile, in football, maybe even with basketball again — EA Sports general manager Daryl Holt said in an exclusive interview with Axios.

Why it matters: Sports gaming doesn’t get much press, but it’s a surging market with increased competition and lots of players up for grabs.

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