By Jonathan Easley - 01/21/16 08:39 PM EST
Bolton groups plan 2016 spending blitz
A trio of groups backed by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton are topping their previous fundraising efforts and preparing to spend heavily on behalf of Republicans and conservative causes in 2016.
According to figures first provided to The Hill, Bolton’s PAC, super-PAC and non-profit foreign policy advocacy group hauled in $7 million in 2015. The donations came from 66,000 individual contributions and averaged out to under $100 apiece.
The PAC and super-PAC raised about $8.5 million over the entire 2014 cycle, putting the groups on pace to nearly double that haul this time around.
Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador who considered running for president, attributed the fundraising bonanza to the increased focus on foreign policy in the wake of several high-profile terror attacks around the world.
“The incredible growth in support for the PAC, super-PAC, and Foundation over the last year is a testament to citizens’ overwhelming desire for strong national security policies,” Bolton said in a statement to The Hill.
The Foundation for American Security and Freedom, which launched in early 2015 to promote a hawkish GOP foreign policy vision, has been placing ads in newspapers in four early-voting states urging conservatives to thoroughly vet the GOP contenders on national defense.
Bolton has consulted with several GOP presidential candidates on foreign policy this cycle but has not yet endorsed. He’s mulling an endorsement in early 2016.
The John Bolton PAC, meanwhile, has been spreading its cash around to House and Senate Republicans “who support strong national security policies.”
And Bolton’s super-PAC is eyeing independent expenditures in hotly contested battleground states where vulnerable Republican incumbents are seeking reelection.
The super-PAC has already pumped money into New Hampshire on behalf of Sen. Kelly Ayotte and into Ohio for Sen. Rob Portman and is now “carefully considering expenditures in states where the Senate and presidential races are tightest,” including Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Florida and Arizona.
“With growing threats from terrorists like ISIS, nuclear proliferators like Iran and world powers like Russia and China, Americans want strong leadership,” Bolton said.
“It is my priority to identify and support candidates who will fight to defend America’s interests and work effectively with our allies in these dire times.”