Published — May 5, 2017

Meet Donald Trump’s messaging army

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump pauses to smile as he speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Super PACs, nonprofits lining up to help the new president in 2017


Several organizations, including super PACs and politically active nonprofit groups, have lent President Donald Trump advertising and messaging support during the early days of his administration.

Here are the key pro-Trump groups to watch in 2017:

Making America Great

Group type: 501(c)(4) nonprofit

Why it matters: The new nonprofit is backed by Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the influential megadonors who jumped in to back Donald Trump during the 2016 elections. The group’s chief strategist is David Bossie, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager. In March, Making America Great launched a seven-figure ad campaign designed to highlight Trump’s achievements.

Committee to Defend the President

Group type: Hybrid super PAC

Why it matters: The Committee to Defend the President was formed in 2013 under a different name – Stop Hillary PAC. It officially changed its name in January, and has since run nearly $600,000 in ads boosting Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

America First Policies

Group type: 501(c)(4) nonprofit

Why it matters: America First Policies grew out of Trump’s political operation. Headed by Brad Parscale, who ran the digital and data portion of Trump’s campaign, and featuring a coterie of former aides, it was meant to serve as a quasi-independent outside group providing support for the president’s initiatives. Parscale has said America First Policies had raised around $25 million. The group initially kept a low profile while some strategists and donors departed and rival groups launched. But in late March, it picked up Katie Walsh, a former deputy White House chief of staff, and in April, it created a $3 million ad campaign to support Republican members of Congress who backed a health care proposal.

Great America Alliance and Great America PAC

Group types: Great America Alliance is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit and Great America PAC is a hybrid super PAC.

Why they matter: Both groups are run by Republican political operatives Eric Beach and Ed Rollins. Two prominent Republican supporters of the president are co-chairmen of the nonprofit: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The super PAC, for its part, spent roughly $23.6 million supporting Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 election cycle, according to federal records, and recently sent out a fundraising solicitation based on Trump’s military strike in Syria. Great America PAC has this year spent more than $765,000 on messaging supporting Trump and his 2020 re-election campaign.

45Committee and Future45

Group types: 501(c)(4) nonprofit and super PAC

Why they matter: The 45Committee nonprofit is closely linked to Future45, a super PAC connected to the Ricketts family, the owners of the Chicago Cubs. According to federal campaign finance data tracked by the Center for Responsive Politics, the nonprofit spent $21.3 million supporting Trump’s presidential bid last year. The Future45 super PAC separately spent nearly $24.3 million on the presidential race, nearly all in opposition to Democrat Hillary Clinton. In 2017, the 45Committee has spent millions of dollars on ads promoting Trump cabinet picks.

Rebuilding America Now

Group type: super PAC

Why it matters: Primarily an anti-Hillary Clinton attack dog in 2016, this super PAC’s biggest donor was Linda McMahon, the former professional wrestling executive and two-time U.S. Senate candidate who’s now Trump’s Small Business Administration administrator. Has been largely dormant in 2017.

Make America Number 1

Group type: super PAC

Why it matters: The super PAC, which was primarily funded by billionaire hedge fund guru Robert Mercer, initially backed Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primary. It later supported Trump, mainly by bashing Clinton. Has done little in 2017.

Great America Agenda

Group type: super PAC

Why it matters: Great America Agenda’s chairman, Corey Lewandowski, was Trump’s first campaign manager and has since opened his own lobbying shop, touting his access to Trump. (On Wednesday, Lewandowski said he’s leaving the firm.) The super PAC was created earlier this year and hasn’t yet had to file reports disclosing contributions and expenditures.

America First Action

Group type: super PAC

Why it matters: Formed in April, this Massachusetts-based super PAC was registered with the Federal Election Commission by Charles Gantt, senior vice president for conservative political consulting firm Red Curve Solutions. Bradley Crate, Red Curve Solutions’ president, serves as Donald Trump’s campaign treasurer. It has yet to launch a messaging campaign and little else is known about its backers.

America First Agenda

Group type: super PAC

Why it matters: Formed in April, this Florida-based super PAC plays on Trump’s “America First” slogan. The group’s registration paperwork lists its chairwoman as Lauren Pardo, a former aide to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and current vice president of political consulting firm Groundswell Strategies.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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