Groups tied to potential 2024 GOP candidates load up on cash ahead of expected presidential bids

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Vice-president Mike Pence addresses supporters at campaign rally Saturday October 24, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) (Steve Cannon/AP)

Groups tied to potential 2024 GOP candidates load up on cash ahead of expected presidential bids

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Organizations linked to possible 2024 Republican presidential candidates are raising millions of dollars, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.

With former President Donald Trump already declared to run for president in 2024, the GOP candidate field is expected to widen in the coming months. Nonprofit groups and political action committees tied to Republicans seemingly poised to seek the White House have pulled in almost $62 million between 2021 and 2022, records show.

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Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, said on Tuesday that she will mull a possible 2024 bid during her Christmas break. There has continued to be speculation that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will mount a presidential run, and Haley said in November, “I’ll look at it in a serious way, and I’ll have more to say soon.”

Nikki Haley

Stand for America Inc., a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that she founded, raised $8.6 million in 2021, tax forms show. The funds were steered toward direct mail campaigns, message development, and digital content.

While groups like Haley’s are not required under federal law to disclose their donors, its unredacted 2019 tax forms were reported on by Politico in August 2022. Those donors included hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, investor Stanley Druckenmiller, as well as the late casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson.

Stand for America, as with other social welfare nonprofit groups, is restricted legally by how much political advocacy it can engage in. Still, such groups can sometimes function as informal campaigns, by cultivating email lists, fundraising, and digitally advertising for issue advocacy, while associated lawmakers plan their political run.

“Nonprofits established and run by potential candidates or their associates often masquerade as social welfare organizations promoting public education on social issues when the true purpose is to promote the name, image, and reputation of the potential candidate,” Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the left-leaning think tank Public Citizen, told the Washington Examiner.

Mike Pence

Advancing American Freedom, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group founded by former Vice President Mike Pence, raised roughly $7.7 million in 2021, tax forms show. The organization has been staffing up as Pence publicly flirts with a 2024 bid.

“We’re giving it consideration in our house,” said the former vice president in November. “Prayerful consideration.”

A Pence adviser told the Washington Examiner that Advancing American Freedom and its affiliated 501(c)(3) nonprofit group plan to spend $35 million in 2023. The group announced a $10 million energy independence campaign this year and files amicus briefs in court, such as a transgender case in Iowa.

“As you’ve seen in recent interviews, Pence has been saying that the 2022 shortcomings were largely due to a focus on the past and not properly articulating what conservatives would do if they had control of legislative bodies,” the adviser said.

The adviser declined to comment further about Pence’s current 2024 deliberations.

Larry Hogan

An America United, a 501(c)(4) founded by supporters of Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD), raised roughly $2 million in 2021, according to tax forms. Hogan is eyeing a presidential run in 2024 after deciding against one in 2020, according to multiple reports.

“We wouldn’t be supporting any candidate because it’s an issue advocacy group,” a spokesman for An America United told the Washington Examiner. “We’re not a campaign group. We do a limited amount of campaign activity but we wouldn’t be doing that in a presidential race.”

Tim Scott

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who hinted at a 2024 presidential run during his Senate victory speech in November, is affiliated with a super PAC called Opportunity Matters Fund. The super PAC has raised over $36 million since the start of 2021, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Most of its funding has come from Larry Ellison, the chairman of Oracle, a multinational tech company.

“My grandfather voted for the first man of color to be elected as president of the United States,” said Scott in his victory speech. “I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected president of the United States. But this time, let it be a Republican and not just a Democrat. So just know: All things are possible in America.”

Mike Pompeo

Another super PAC called Champion American Values Fund, which is affiliated with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has pulled in roughly $7.6 million since the start of 2021, according to FEC filings.

Pompeo said in October that a Trump 2024 bid would not affect his decision to possibly throw his hat in the presidential ring. In September, Pompeo also hinted at a 2024 run, telling supporters that he has a “team in Iowa.”

“And that’s not random,” he said. “We are doing the things one would do to get ready. Unlike others, if I go down an escalator, no one will notice. We are trying to figure out if that is the next place for us to serve.”

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“If we conclude it is, we’ll go make the case to the American people of why that is,” he added. “And in the end, the American people, I pray, will make a good decision about who’s going to be their next leader.”

Stand for America, Opportunity Matters Network, and Champion American Values did not respond to requests for comment.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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