Fresh from 2020 election, super PACs are already back attracting big donations

(WASHINGTON) — Fresh off one of the most expensive presidential elections in modern American history, wealthy donors from both sides of the aisle are already back pumping big checks into supporting Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s political efforts.

Campaign disclosure reports filed last week showed Team Trump’s aggressive post-White House fundraising efforts raising more than $50 million over the past six months, with more than $100 million on hand heading into the second half of the year. Trump’s post-election fundraising operation has mainly focused on small-dollar online contributions through his newly formed political action committee, Save America, and his presidential campaign committee-turned PAC, Make America Great Again PAC — both of which are limited by federal campaign regulations to contributions of $5,000 per person.

In comparison, Team Biden — which hasn’t been soliciting donations as aggressively or extensively as Trump’s multi-entity fundraising team and instead has mainly been raising money through his presidential campaign committee — reported bringing in $10 million in the first six months of the year, with $4.7 million on hand. Much of Biden’s campaign committee’s fundraising — limited by federal regulations to contributions of $2,800 per person — has also focused on small online donations.

As a result, contributions from wealthy donors who want to show bigger support are coming through outside entities like super PACs, which can solicit an unlimited amount of money from a single donor — unlike a presidential campaign or a regular PAC.

A newly formed pro-Trump super PAC, led by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, took in more than $3 million in the two months since it started accepting donations, its first financial disclosure report shows.

The super PAC, called Make America Great Again Action (MAGA Action), received donations ranging from $5,000 to $1 million from three dozen donors between May 10 and June 30, after reportedly hosting a fundraising dinner at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with a price tag of $250,000 per person.

The $1 million donation came from Nevada-based businessman Don Ahern, who had fundraised for Trump during Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. Waste management tycoon Anthony Lomangino, who had previously given big checks to Trump’s various fundraising committees during Trump’s presidency, also gave $500,000 to the super PAC.

Former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was unseated by Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock last November, also wrote a $250,000 check to the super PAC, while MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has continued to push false claims of a rigged election, also gave $100,000 to the group.

The MAGA Action committee is reportedly going to serve as the main pro-Trump super PAC in his post-White House era, a role that another super PAC, America First Action, had played during his time in office. America First donated an additional $1.8 million in monetary and in-kind contributions to MAGA Action during the first half of this year, according to its disclosure report.

MAGA Action has already begun supporting pro-Trump political efforts, spending more than $417,000 to support coal industry lobbyist Mike Carey in a GOP special election primary in Ohio’s House race. Carey, who was endorsed by Trump, won the primary last week.

Biden’s big-dollar supporters are already in action as well, writing five-figure and six-figure checks to super PACs that have been supporting his campaign and political efforts, according to disclosures.

Unite the Country, a super PAC formed last year with the main purpose of supporting Biden during the 2020 presidential election, brought in just over $1 million from a handful of big and small donors in the first half of this year.

Major labor unions were among Unite the Country’s biggest donors, with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC contributing $500,000, the Amalgamated Transit Union’s super PAC giving $250,000, and the ironworker union’s PAC contributing $100,000.

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah also contributed $95,000, while several attorneys made five-figure donations.

The American Bridge 21st Century PAC, another major Democratic super PAC that backed Biden during the 2020 election and is also involved in numerous other pro-Democratic political efforts, reported taking in nearly $9 million already this year. Among the big checks the organization received was $2 million from Lone Pine Capital partner Stephen Mandel and $1 million from Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz, disclosure filings show.

Unite the Country and American Bridge have yet to report any 2021 expenditures supporting specific candidates, but they have reported other advertising, fundraising and consulting expenditures.

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