Donald Trump-backed super PAC forms ahead of midterm elections

A new Donald Trump-backed super PAC was formed on Friday, as the former president seeks to wield more influence in November’s midterm contests ahead of a possible White House bid in 2024.

Importantly, the super PAC could also be used to hold reserve cash for this bid which cannot currently fund its own campaign because it sits on a leadership PAC, a type of committee excluded from this type of spending. .

The super PAC is called Make America Great Again Inc., according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. It is the latest in a series of Trump-aligned committees to bear that name. It supersedes Make America Great Again, Again!, which was recorded last fall and raised around $15 million and spent around $5 million.

Most of Trump’s fundraising since leaving the Oval Office has benefited a leadership PAC called Save America, which has wide latitude in distributing funds, including to cover travel, pay advisers and, as many law enforcement investigations escalate, cover legal costs. A notable restriction is that these PACs cannot be used by candidates to fund their own political campaigns, meaning the money would have to be transferred out of the committee to fund a new presidential campaign.

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Trump has indicated he intends to make another run for the White House. He told Tory radio host Hugh Hewitt this month that a criminal charge would be “no ban” on running.

He has sought to fend off his legal troubles using the resources of Save America, which primarily raises money from small donors via email and text messages asking its supporters to “fight” for Trump and defend his legacy. The PAC spent millions last month on legal advice, according to a recent filing, including $3 million in the trust account of Critton, Luttier & Coleman of West Palm Beach.

Yet Save America is sitting on nearly $100 million. The PAC has so far sent only limited sums to Trump’s favorite candidates. Among those he has backed are former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who unsuccessfully ran in a primary to unseat Republican incumbent Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and Harriet Hageman, who defeated Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in that state’s primary last month.

The new super PAC is likely to be a vehicle to expand the former president’s financial footprint.

The new super PAC’s staff includes Taylor Budowich, Trump’s spokesperson and senior adviser for his 2020 campaign; Chris LaCivita, a longtime GOP consultant who led one of the top pro-Trump super PACs in 2020; Meredith O’Rourke, a veteran Republican fundraiser; pollster Tony Fabrizio; and Sergio Gor, a former Capitol Hill aide who co-founded a conservative book publishing company. The press team includes Steven Cheung, who served in communications roles in Trump’s White House and his two previous presidential campaigns, and Alex Pfeiffer, media strategist and former producer of Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show.

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“President Trump is committed to saving America, and Make America Great Again, Inc. will ensure that is realized at the polls in November and beyond,” Budowich said in a statement. Details of the super PAC were first reported by Politico.

Mike Murphy, a former top strategist for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, said he would expect a super PAC to be the destination for the massive sum available to Trump’s leadership committee. . Given the rules around leadership PACs and financing one’s own campaign, this type of transfer can lead to legal complaints, he said.

But perhaps the trickiest question, Murphy added, is what happens to the list of small donors cultivated by PAC leadership, which will be useful to any future presidential campaign committee or super PAC. waiting for a campaign.

“PAC leadership has a valuable list of small donors,” he said. “If I open Trump up for president, can I buy this list and apply for it again? What is fair value? In fact, it’s something like an in-kind contribution of $2 million, but there may be efforts to sell it for less. It’s a delicate job. »


Washington

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