Presidential races

New Trump super-PAC says it has raised nearly $2 million already

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A new super-PAC has launched to support Donald Trump, and by the roster of people involved, it appears to have been unofficially blessed by the Trump campaign. 

{mosads}The Committee for American Sovereignty has already “got nearly a couple of million” dollars in pledges and expects to raise $20 million before the Republican National Convention in July, spokesman Doug Watts said in a telephone interview with The Hill on Thursday. 

{mosads}The list of people attached to the super-PAC conveys the clear impression that the group is sanctioned by the Trump campaign — at least unofficially because such groups can’t legally coordinate with campaigns.

The list includes conservative activists, including prominent Trump booster Phyllis Schlafly, retired military officers and business associates of Trump’s, according to the press release.

Watts, who was Ben Carson’s campaign spokesman during the retired neurosurgeon’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, said the super-PAC would be focusing on voter targeting and get out the vote operations.

“With the recent announcement that a pro-Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC has already booked over $90 million in ad time in just seven states in June, it is clear we need to ramp up major donor fundraising efforts, unify Republicans, and take on the Clinton machine,” Watts said in a statement. 

“We have already begun to raise significant funds in California and from supporters across the country.” 

According to Watts, the Committee for American Sovereignty will mostly avoid major television advertising so it doesn’t compete with another pro-Trump super-PAC, Great America PAC, which is run by Jesse Benton, a former operative for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). This super-PAC, which has not gained much traction so far among GOP donors, has been viciously attacked by Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone.

Watts said the new super-PAC “will not accept special interest PAC contributions,” which appears to be a concession to Trump’s desire not to be viewed as being beholden to wealthy benefactors. 

A central feature of Trump’s appeal has been his self-funding. But while that was largely true during the primary campaign — he loaned his campaign roughly $40 million, which is most of its funds — it is no longer the case.  

His team is frantically gearing up a finance operation to fund a general election that will likely cost each side more than $1 billion.

Trump’s inner circle appears to keenly understand how much it could hurt the candidate with voters if they come to view him as just another politician who takes campaign donations.

Trump’s new fundraising arrangements with the Republican National Committee are being spun as the billionaire helping out the party rather than himself. 

But Trump’s appointment of Wall Street banker Steve Mnuchin as national finance chairman, and his recruitment of well-known GOP fundraiser Anthony Scaramucci indicate Trump is getting serious about fundraising. 

Former state Sen. Tony Strickland, the new Trump super-PAC’s California chairman, said in the statement that he plans to tap Trump supporters on the West Coast who have so far been holding off donating to abide by the billionaire’s instructions.

“We intend to raise significant funds from California supporters who, until now, have deferred to Mr. Trump’s wishes to self-fund his campaign,” Strickland said.

The Trump campaign is also launching a fundraising blitz in Los Angeles, with a friend of the billionaire, investor Thomas Barrack Jr., scheduled to host a fundraiser at his home on May 25, The Washington Post reported.

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