Biden allies launch super PAC

Allies of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Booker takes swipe at Biden criminal justice reform plan Panel: Has Joe Biden been wrong on everything for 40 years? MORE are launching a super PAC to support his presidential campaign, sources tell The Hill.

Democratic fundraiser Matt Tompkins has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to establish the For the People PAC with the aim of raising tens of millions of dollars to support Biden’s White House bid.

The super PAC will run local and national media ads for Biden and ensure he’ll have an activist network in all 50 states as he seeks to maintain his standing at the top of the polls in the Democratic primary. For the People will also run Facebook ads that send potential donors directly to Biden’s campaign.

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Super PACs can’t coordinate with campaigns, and candidates can’t control whether outside groups form to support them.

But Biden will almost certainly get attacked by his rivals over the new super PAC, as most of the Democratic contenders have disavowed corporate PAC money and donations from federal lobbyists. 

The operatives forming the super PAC are well aware of how the group will be received.

“While this entity will come as a surprise to some, it is no surprise that Democrats must fight within campaign finance laws as they exist, not as they wish they did,” said Tompkins. “You won’t win in 2020 by unilaterally disarming.”

Biden's campaign distanced itself from the effort.

"Vice President Biden does not welcome assistance from super PACs," Biden communications director and deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told The Hill.

Biden has said his campaign will not take money from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists. And in an interview with "PBS NewsHour," he said he advised his fellow 2020 contender Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission MORE (I-Vt.) not to accept support from super PACs. "How will a middle-class guy accept you if you accept [super PAC] money?" he said

Those supporting the super PAC say they understand that while Biden isn't a fan of super PACs, it is critical that Democrats utilize the space outside the campaign to lift up the candidate they believe is most qualified to defeat President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE.

"I applaud the effort," said one longtime Biden ally. "It's putting democracy back in the people's hands."

While his campaign just launched, Biden has already begun to hit the fundraising circuit. On Thursday night, the former vice president attended a fundraiser at the home of Comcast executive David Cohen just hours after launching his presidential bid.

Sanders’s campaign swiped at Biden for attending the fundraiser. Liberal groups, such as Justice Democrats, which was founded by several former Sanders campaign aides, have sought to cast Biden as a corporate shill.

Still, Biden has put to bed any questions about whether he’d be able to match his rivals, such as Sanders and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), whose campaigns have been powered by millions in small-dollar donations.

The Biden campaign announced Friday that it raised $6.3 million in first 24 hours after officially launching, outpacing the early hauls for both Sanders and O’Rourke.

The campaign said it received 107,431 online donations from 96,926 individual donors across all 50 states, with an average contribution of $41.

"We are incredibly heartened by the energy and enthusiasm displayed throughout the country for Joe Biden," said Bedingfield.

Updated April 27 at 10:22 a.m.