May 24, 2018
Pro-Trump Super PAC Raises $2.5 Million in 6 Weeks
America First Action, a super PAC supporting President Trump’s agenda, has raised $2.5 million in the past six weeks, according to new Federal Election Commission filings obtained by The Hill.
The super PAC raised those funds between April 3 and May 16, according to an early look at the filing, spending about $786,000 along the way.
The fundraising haul puts America First slightly ahead of last quarter’s fundraising pace. The group raised $4.7 million in the first three months of 2018.
While the group normally files its fundraising figures every six months, it had to file a report ahead of next month’s Montana primary because it ran ads earlier this month attacking Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the hopes of softening him up before his tough reelection fight. Montana’s primary elections are on June 5.
The America First Action ad blasted Tester for his role in sinking Trump’s former nominee for the Department of Veterans Affairs—former White House physician Ronny Jackson.
While Jackson was being considered for the post, Tester—the ranking member on the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee—released a list of accusations that surfaced during his committee’s vetting of Jackson. Among those charges were that Johnson was a lax distributor of prescriptions, drank on the job and contributed to a hostile work environment.
In the days after the accusations surfaced, the Secret Service released a statement rebutting an accusation that Johnson created a scene while drunk during an overseas trip. The White House denied another allegation, that he crashed a government vehicle.
Jackson withdrew his nomination during the fracas and Trump eventually nominated acting Secretary Robert Wilkie to remain in the position permanently.
The ad took Tester to task for his role in sinking Jackson and echoes Trump’s public frustration about Tester.
“In Montana, we value integrity and support our president. But Jon Tester spread false information about a respected Navy admiral, helping D.C. Democrats derail President Trump’s Veterans Affairs nominee,” the ad’s narrator says.
“He’s betrayed our trust, our veterans and our president.”
Tester is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, but there’s a four-way battle for the right to take him on.
State Auditor Matt Rosendale appears to be the frontrunner. He has the backing of conservative senators like Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.), as well as support from outside groups that have spent almost $2 million to boost his candidacy.
But he’s faced incoming attacks in recent weeks from those pointing to his move from Maryland to argue he’s an outsider.
Retired Judge Russ Fagg and businessman Troy Downing, a military veteran, are considered his top competition. State Sen. Al Olszewski is also running in the primary.