Dan Backer is the founding attorney of political.law PLLC (formerly DB Capitol Strategies PLLC), a campaign finance and political law firm in Alexandria, Virginia. Backer was born in Russia and emigrated with his family to the U.S. in the late 1970s.
Backer is the general counsel for the pro-Donald Trump Great America PAC, Committee to Defend the President PAC, and Great America Alliance 501(c)(4) organization. He is a staunch advocate of free speech and associational rights.
In 1999, Backer received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received a law degree from George Mason University (now Antonin Scalia Law School) in 2009. In 2011, Backer completed a master’s certification in PAC management at George Washington University.
Representing Shaun McCutcheon, Backer was consigliere of the U.S. Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The plaintiffs challenged biennial aggregate campaign limits established in 1974. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, "[striking] down the aggregate limits on the amount an individual may contribute during a two-year period to all federal candidates, parties, and political action committees combined." As a result of the McCutcheon decision, individuals may now contribute to as many federal candidates, political parties, or PACs as they want, as long as contributions do not exceed $2,700 (or the otherwise applicable "base limit") in each case.
Backer was plaintiff's counsel in the 2011 case Carey v. FEC, which allowed PACs not connected to corporations, unions, and trade associations to create super PACs within their structure, or hybrid PACs. Backer argued prior laws governing campaign contributions "prohibit[ed] a non-connected political committee from soliciting and accepting unlimited contributions to one bank account designated for independent expenditures, while maintaining a second, separate bank account designated for source- and amount-limited contributions to candidates and their authorized political committees." He claimed fewer spending restrictions give "policy-oriented PACs new electoral-oriented muscle."
In 2013, Backer helped establish the Stop Hillary PAC in order "to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States." The PAC, which was critical of Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attacks, renamed itself after the November 2016 election as the Committee to Defend the President. Backer serves as the PAC's treasurer and counsel.
In 2017, Backer filed a complaint on behalf of the Committee with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), accusing Clinton's 2016 campaign and the Democratic Party of "an unprecedented, massive, nationwide multi-million dollar conspiracy." The FEC complaint alleged an $84 million money laundering scheme between the Clinton campaign, Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic state parties, and Democratic mega-donors, in violation of multiple campaign finance laws.
In April 2018, Backer sued the FEC after it refused to act on the complaint. To date, Clinton, the DNC, Democratic state parties, and their donors implicated in the complaint have not released their response to the FEC.
Backer has published numerous op-ed columns criticizing Democrats for violating campaign finance laws and ignoring the Committee's complaint, in addition to op-eds promoting free speech and less restrictive campaign finance rules. Backer also criticizes what he perceives as anti-speech activism and biased news coverage.
Backer lives in Vienna, Virginia with his wife and three children.