November 02, 2017
Trump Super PAC Launches $100 Million Blitz
President Donald Trump’s super PAC is drawing up plans to spend $100 million on an all-out push to sell tax reform and elect pro-Trump Republicans in 2018.
The group, dubbed America First Action, is expected to host a fundraiser in the coming months that will be attended by Vice President Mike Pence and is in talks with the administration to get Trump to headline an event. It has tapped oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm, a Trump ally whose net worth exceeds $11 billion, to boost its fundraising campaign. And it is recruiting major Republican Party donors across the country.
Last week, America First officials metwith top Trump advisers at the White House to brief them on a multimillion dollar campaign to promote tax reform and discuss how the legislative battle is likely to play out.
Last week, it held a briefing for donors at a lavish Texas ranch owned by oilman T. Boone Pickens. The group’s president, Brian O. Walsh, laid out its plans in a 30-minute presentation, noting that America First and an allied nonprofit had already raised a combined $25 million.
A number of prominent GOP givers flew in for the event in their private planes. Among those on hand were Dallas businessman Doug Deason, son of billionaire Darwin Deason, and Alabama real estate developer Jim Wilson.
Walsh told the gathering that tax reform is the group's top priority heading into the election year. American First Policies, a nonprofit affiliated with the super PAC, is expected to launch an ad campaign in the coming weeks that would praise Republican lawmakers who line up behind the package and pressure those who don’t.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass strong, bold tax reform for the American people,” Walsh said in a statement. “Failure is not an option and America First is committed to mobilizing grassroots supporters behind President Trump’s commitment to the middle class.”
Top officials with the super PAC used last week’s meeting to try and assert its standing as the primary pro-Trump outside group, and to clear up any confusion about which organization to give to. The answer hasn't been clear to some givers, as they've watched Bannon grab headlines with his push to take out GOP incumbents and undermine Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Bannon recently installed one of his top aides at Great America PAC.
During the meeting, Walsh highlighted the credentials of America First strategists and their close ties to Trump. They include Brad Parscale and Corey Lewandowski, both of whom played key roles on the Trump campaign.
To drive the point home, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., who was present for the affair, announced that he had recently cut a check to America First. “This is the only group that I’m giving to,” he said.
Wilson said he is operating under the assumption that America First "is the only [Trump-aligned] super PAC out there — that this is going to be the one.”