Conservatives launch $5 million effort to pressure Democrats on Brett Kavanaugh

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Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh will soon get a $5 million boost from two independent conservative groups devoted to supporting President Trump’s agenda, according to organizers of the effort.

Great America PAC and Great America Alliance will next week launch a campaign to confirm Kavanaugh built around cable television, radio and digital ads in seven states that were won by Trump in 2016 and where Democratic senators are campaigning for reelection.

The focus is not just on influencing the confirmation votes in the Senate but on using the Supreme Court nomination battle to energize Trump supporters to turn out for Republican candidates in the fall elections.

“It’s all about intensity,” said Ed Rollins, the lead strategist for the two Great America groups, which operate under distinct parts of the tax code. “This whole election and campaign is about whose side gets intensified.”

The groups plan to develop two sets of ads, with one targeting Democratic incumbent senators up for reelection in Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri and Montana, who voted against Trump’s last nominee to the high court, Neil M. Gorsuch.

The second set will target the three Democrats who voted for Gorsuch — Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.).

Great America groups spent about $3 million on ads and direct mail during the Gorsuch fight, said Eric Beach, who runs the groups with Rollins.

The two groups are also planning a bus tour in mid-September to support Kavanaugh in all of the states, with the exception of Montana. Organizers are asking three veterans of other Great America bus tours, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, actor Jon Voight and Fox News pundit Tomi Lahren, to return as draws for the grass-roots effort but have not yet confirmed their participation. The groups sent Palin to Alabama last year to support Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“Getting the band back together again is a good way to put it,” Beach said.

The new campaign will join an increasingly crowded effort by outside groups on both sides of the political spectrum to influence public opinion and senate elections.

A liberal group, Demand Justice, has promised its own $5 million ad campaign to defeat Kavanaugh, focused on Democratic senators from Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia and Republicans from Maine and Alaska.

Hard-Hitting New Ad Blasts James Comey’s Blatant Hypocrisy




ALEXANDRIA, VA — On the heels of James Comey attacking President Trump yet again on Twitter earlier today, Great America PAC is releasing a hard-hitting new ad titled “Facts do matter.”  The ad shows Comey’s blatant hypocrisy in a CNN town hall appearance just weeks ago, where Anderson Cooper directly called out his inconsistency on leaks to the media and how they should be handled.

“Instead of constantly attacking President Trump and his administration, Mr. Comey might want to work on clarifying the inconsistency of his public remarks,” said Ed Rollins, Chairman of Great America PAC. “He claimed leakers should be nailed to the wall, even though his own leaks created the very foundation of this Mueller investigation. The more Mr. Comey makes public statements, the more his credibility deteriorates.”

The new 30-second ad will be distributed nationally through digital channels starting today, running through next week.







Great America PAC is the premiere pro-Trump Super PAC led by veteran Republican strategist, Ed Rollins. In 2017, Great America PAC has already engaged in successful races in Montana, Georgia, and most recently in Alabama. In 2016, the group raised and spent $30 million in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy. The group is one of the most active on the national political landscape, securing over 250,000 contributors, broadcasting more than 20,000 TV spots and 300,000 radio ads, placing 30 million phone calls, sending over 2.5 million pieces of mail, and has built a file of millions of active, engaged Trump supporters across the country.

Leading Pro-Trump Super PAC Founder and Strategists To Join Kelli Ward’s Arizona Senate Campaign

TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 11, 2017 — The Kelli Ward for Senate campaign has announced that the founder and top operative of the largest Super PAC supporting the President in 2016, Great America PAC, have joined the campaign. Eric Beach was founder and co-chair and Brent Lowder served as Executive Director of Great America PAC, which raised and spent nearly $30 million in support of President Trump’s candidacy in 2016. The two respected operatives will help lead Kelli Ward’s campaign to defeat Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona in 2018.

“Eric and Brent are highly accomplished political operatives with strong track records of success. They played an important role in the election of President Trump and are now committed to helping me to send Jeff Flake into retirement next year,” said Ward. “We are excited to have them join the team and know they will have an immediate positive impact on our campaign.”

“Kelli Ward is a strong, thoughtful leader and will be a hardworking, dedicated Senator in Washington that all Arizonans can be proud of,” said Beach. “Senator Jeff Flake has continually failed Arizona and is more interested in selling his new book by attacking the President than actually serving his constituents and getting things done. Arizona deserves far better from their Senator.”

The top operatives will help build a national campaign to defeat Senator Jeff Flake in 2018


The Hill: Exclusive: Trump allies rally around Sen. Flake’s primary challenger

Trump PAC Keeps Spending to Push Supporters to Call Senators

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A Trump Super PAC that says it built a list of 3 to 5 million active supporters during the 2016 election using tactics including direct response 1-800 number TV ads has spent around $175,000 this month alone to keep the pro-Trump momentum rolling. Post-inauguration, Great America PAC has been serving up Facebook and radio ads encouraging people to call their senators to support President Trump, his agenda, and his nominees, including Neil Gorsuch, his pick for Supreme Court Justice.

The group, which spent $100,000 earlier this month with Republican digital ad firm Campaign Solutions, is running ads on Facebook promoting key initiatives promised by the president while on the campaign trail: the building of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and the repeal of Obamacare. The ads coax people to call their senators in support of the policies.

“President Trump needs your help. In order to Make America Great Again, he needs a cabinet,” state the Facebook ads, which have pushed people to call their senators to support recently-confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Call your Senator today and DEMAND they support President Trump’s cabinet appointees! Click to find out your Senator’s phone number.”

The ads lead to a page that, if viewed on a mobile device, allow people to click to call their senators after submitting their state of residence. The PAC also asks for an email address as a means of gathering more contact information from people who appear to be supporters of the president’s initiatives.

Convincing people to pick up the phone and voice their opinion to a congressional staffer rather than sign an online petition or send an email via a web form appears to be a growing trend among PACs and advocacy groups. It’s no secret that legislators have become so accustomed to online petitions and emails from constituents that the potency of these modes of communications has been diluted over time.

“Our representatives in government need to learn how to be responsive to the governed,” said Dan Backer, general counsel and treasurer of Great America PAC. “We have to bust through the data-management dynamic that has developed of just counting the number of messages received while ignoring the message being delivered.”

Now that so many people have a phone in their hands, pockets or bags at all times, they arguably are more likely to make a call and tell someone what they think, which can have far more impact than an opinion expressed virtually. Another pro-Trump group, 45Committee, ran TV ads in January prompting people to call their senators in support of Jeff Sessions, the Republican senator from Alabama who was recently confirmed as the U.S. attorney general.

As part of a test, Great America PAC spent $30,000 this month for radio ads with Talk Media Network, which produces niche shows such as “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” and “House of Cards Radio,” a gaming entertainment program. The ads suggest listeners call their senators in favor of the Trump administration’s Supreme Court nominee.

“On the first day of testing radio, we drove just under 1,000 calls to the Senate in support of confirming Judge Gorsuch,” said Mr. Backer. The calls can be tracked because the ads include a unique phone number.

While the shows aren’t exactly household names, he said the organization is focused on driving advocacy at the lowest cost per contact, so whether the programs are well-known or not is irrelevant.

According to Mr. Backer, who is also a principal attorney at campaign finance and political law firm, formerly called DB Capitol Strategies, his goal is to answer the question, “How do we drive the most cost effective call to the Senate to provide the greatest amount of advocacy?”

Throughout the 2016 election cycle, Great America PAC ran ads featuring 1-800 numbers that were intended to entice people who rarely engage in the political process to call and “pledge” their support for then-candidate Trump, then donate money. The group used the tactic to help build its database of supporters it can now send direct mail and other communications to.

“The political class that couldn’t see the Trump wave also tends to look down their nose at directly engaging voters,” said Mr. Backer, regarding the use of the unusual 1-800 number ad approach.

The focus by pro-Trump groups, the Republican party and the Trump campaign itself on reaching low-propensity voters rather than just the Republican base proved instrumental to low-margin wins over Hillary Clinton in key states such as Michigan and Wisconsin.

Pro-Trump super PAC aims to serve as new president’s main outside ally

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One of the biggest super PACs that backed Donald Trump’s election is refashioning itself to serve as his main outside ally, planning to put pressure on Democrats and Republicans alike who try to stymie the new president’s agenda.

Great America PAC spent roughly $30 million on TV and radio ads, phone calls, mailers, and a ground organization to support Trump since it formed in February, amassing a list of 250,000 donors. The group is now aiming to tap those contributors — which includes both billionaires and small-dollar givers — to finance a permanent effort to support Trump’s legislative plans, officials told The Washington Post.

Ed Rollins, the group’s senior strategist, said he learned from his work in the Reagan White House the value of an outside operation that keeps supporters engaged.

“The margins are such that, from time to time, you will have to put some pressure on members,” he said, adding that Great America can serve as “a tool that can go out and build support in the midterms and for his reelection.”

“It’s something the president-elect doesn’t know he needs, but he does need it,” Rollins added.

The super PAC’s new role resembles that of Organizing for Action, the nonprofit advocacy group that grew out of President Obama’s reelection campaign. But unlike OFA, Great America intends to target the new president’s opponents in both parties — potentially fueling tensions within the GOP, which was deeply split over Trump’s candidacy.

“Suppose there’s a battle between him and [Speaker Paul] Ryan or someone else,” Rollins said. “We can go out there and do what’s in the best interest of Trump.”

Great America was one of the first super PACs created to back the real estate developer, who at the time was still denouncing his opponents for relying on outside groups. Undeterred, Great America sought to build a grass-roots presence to augment Trump’s lean campaign operation.

“We were a real campaign,” said Eric Beach, the super PAC’s co-chairman, noting that Great America had field offices in 10 states and financed a bus tour featuring surrogates such as actor Jon Voight and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

In addition, Great America invested heavily in contacting voters via phone and direct mail, as well as radio ads, building a data file of close to 30 million voters. “We are going to be able to utilize that to help other candidates,” Beach said.

Unlike most super PACs, the group courted small donors, bringing in at least $7.8 million in contributions of $200 or less through Oct. 19, according to federal campaign finance filings. But it also received an infusion of cash from wealthy Trump supporters who gave seven-figure sums. Great America raised $9 million in the final weeks of the campaign from just three donors, Beach said: Laurie J. Perlmutter, wife of Marvel Entertainment chief executive Isaac Perlmutter ($5 million), Dallas banker Andy Beal ($2 million) and Houston Texans owner Robert C. McNair ($2 million).

The super PAC’s donors are eager to see its work go on, Beach said. “They have already committed to us that they want to continue the mission,” he said.

Rollins and Beach said they have not been in contact with Trump or his advisers about their plans. But Rollins said he saw the real estate mogul at the Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York in late October, when the then-candidate complimented the group’s work.

“He loved my ads — he said he thought they were the best ads out there,” Rollins said. Trump also sent messages expressing his gratitude during the campaign, Rollins added, saying he was eager to meet when it was over.

Super PAC tries to plug holes in Trump’s ground campaign

The tour bus features a giant photo of a waving, smiling Donald Trump, but the person who steps out is actor Jon Voight, trailed by conservative radio stars and strategists for a super political action committee.

Great America PAC is rolling through some of campaign 2016’s most contested states, opening offices and registering voters. In a presidential race where Trump has paid little attention to the ground game, this outside group has decided the best way to support the GOP nominee is to take such matters into its own hands.

“We look at it as, how do we fix the missing pieces of the campaign?” said Ed Rollins, lead strategist for Great America.

The group is using a different playbook — both in how it raises and spends money — than the usual super PAC. It has struggled to land major donors, but has toiled since January, making it one of the most senior and active outside groups in the Trump orbit.

Unlike candidates, super PACs can accept unlimited amounts of money from donors, so they typically focus on getting the biggest checks possible. Then they often spend most of their money on TV ads, among the most expensive parts of any race and the easiest way to reach millions of voters.

Great America sees another way.

“Gone are the days where a super PAC should be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on slick TV ads,” said Eric Beach, the group’s founding chairman, between stops in Florida. “We are coming out with a new model, and that is the grass roots. Getting out and registering voters. Getting them excited.”

Priorities USA, a super PAC backing Democrat Hillary Clinton, had accepted 42 contributions of $1 million or more each and plans to spend $119 million on TV and radio ads by the Nov. 8 election, but the bulk of Great America’s $7.6 million came from small donors, according to federal filings.

The group is hoping to change that. On Tuesday night, about 50 super PAC donors dined at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where they mingled with one of the candidate’s sons, Eric Trump.

Federal rules prohibit super PACs from coordinating with campaigns on how their money is spent, and campaign officials may not explicitly ask donors to give more than $2,700. But it has become standard for the campaigns to send stands-ins for the candidates — or even the candidates themselves — to super PAC events.

Great America claims to have contacted several million new voters through online solicitations, telemarketing and television ads featuring an 800 number — something more in line with hawking a gadget than promoting a presidential candidate. Callers are asked a few questions and urged to give money.

Super PACs don’t usually seek out low-dollar contributions because doing so “can cannibalize donors” who would otherwise give directly to the campaigns, said Charlie Spies, a Republican super PAC operative and lawyer.

Rollins defended Great America’s approach. “We built a lot of our operation on small donors because we were reaching out to them anyway,” he said.

The group’s cross-country tour began Monday in Florida, with Ohio on the schedule Thursday before ending Saturday in Colorado. The super PAC plans a second tour with four or more buses in October, Beach said.

Presidential candidates have long used roadshows to connect with voters, but Trump “likes to fly in his own plane and sleep in his own bed every night,” Rollins said. Rollins was President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 campaign manager and accompanied him on a “train tour” of America.

Aboard the bus are popular conservative radio hosts, Salem Media executives and super PAC operatives. Voight, one of the few highly visible conservatives in Hollywood, provides a dollop of the celebrity that Trump himself would.

“I’ve known him for a number of years, not very well, but I like him,” Voight said in an interview. “He’s a doer, and he organizes his thinking to accomplish goals.”

As the bus rolled through Orlando suburbs, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and Voight, who’d just met, chatted genially. Radio hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager (who tells crowds Trump was his 17th choice but a better option than Clinton) pecked away at keyboards.

Fox News blared on TVs, and as a Clinton ad featuring Republicans slamming their nominee came on the air, the bus fell silent.

Later in Tampa, before an event with more than 1,000 people, Dan Frishberg, a drive-time host for Salem, said of Great America: “I love that they’re doing this. We need it. Anything to help with enthusiasm.”

Eric Trump attends pro-Trump super PAC fundraiser

One of Donald Trump’s sons, Eric Trump, attended and spoke at a fundraiser for a super PAC backing his father on Tuesday, the closest yet that Trump and his campaign have come to blessing one of the competing groups that have jockeyed for support among big donors.

The event was held at the World Bar of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan, not far from Trump’s 5th Avenue headquarters, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by POLITICO. Eric Trump is not listed as a speaker on that invitation, but he showed up and spoke briefly, according people familiar with the event.

The fundraiser was for the Great America PAC, which has hired longtime Republican operative Ed Rollins as its top strategist. They showed attendees television ads that they planned to air with additional cash, including at least one that incorporated Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark from last week, according to a photo of the event.

Donald Trump initially attacked super PACs when he launched his campaign for president and vowed to run without their support — and he did so throughout the primary — but Trump has since changed his tune and tacitly accepted millions of dollars in supportive ads from two main super PACs during the general election, along with TV spending from the political arm of the National Rifle Association.

Among those listed on the Great America PAC invitation to the Tuesday event that Eric Trump attended are David Clarke, the Milwaukee County Sheriff who has endorsed Trump and spoke at the GOP convention, conservative radio hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager and actor Jon Voight. Those four were part of a traveling bus tour that had been organized by the super PAC.

Eric Beach, co-chair of the Great America PAC, declined to comment on the event other than to say, “We had a wonderful event today, but as a matter of policy I do not comment on specifics of private meetings.” Continue reading

Trump Super PAC Spent Millions on TV and Voter Outreach

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has spent nothing since May on TV advertising and little on other media. But the real estate tycoon has backing from a PAC that spent millions in June and July to attack Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and convince voters that he will bolster the country’s military prowess.

Great America PAC spent $3.8 million on TV ads, phone and online voter contact and voter data in June and July, according to Ad Age analysis of Federal Election Commission filings submitted by the group last month.

Ads from the organization, which counts veteran GOP campaign lead Ed Rollins as its top strategist and LendingTree founder and CEO Doug Lebda as co-chair, support Mr. Trump’s promises to “Rebuild our military and make America respected in the world again,” “Defeat ISIS and radical Islam,” and “Stop the scourge of illegal immigration by securing our borders and building a wall that Mexico will pay for.”

Some of the top recipients of that pro-Trump cash were TV ad firm Rapid Response Television, data and list broker Political List Brokers and digital ad firms Campaign Solutions and Connell Donatelli, which are affiliated.

More than $2.1 million was spent on TV ads, and their messages aim to appeal to security-minded Americans concerned about terrorism.

“Join millions of active duty military and veterans like me. Stand with Donald Trump,” former U.S. Navy Seal Carl Higbie says in one ad. Photos of Mr. Trump speaking on the deck of the USS Iowa, a decommissioned U.S. naval battleship, are interspersed with shots of the crime scene after shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June, deemed a “stark reminder that the battlefield and the enemy is moving here.”

Despite the group’s ability to attract influential military representatives and veterans as endorsers for Mr. Trump, the candidate has been dogged by concerns among some military voters and vets that he does not respect them or their sacrifices. Most recently, his run-in with the parents of a slain U.S. Muslim Army captain has caused problems for him among the important military constituency.

Another Great America PAC spot takes direct aim at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The widow of Ty Woods, a Navy Seal who died in the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya during Mrs. Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, is featured in the ad, declaring Mrs. Clinton’s testimonial at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about the attack “a disgrace.” In “The Difference,” Dorothy Woods opines, “We need a leader who tells it like it is and has our backs, a leader we can trust to tell the truth. That leader is Donald Trump.”

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani makes an appearance in another ad, proclaiming, “America’s leadership can and must be better, and with Donald Trump as president it will be.”

Contributions to Mr. Trump’s campaign surged in July, so it may only be a matter of time before it begins significant TV spending of its own.

Pro-Trump super PAC to air new commercial during DNC

Donald Trump, in his first week as the official Republican nominee for the White House, will be getting some air support during the Democratic National Convention from one of the aligned super PACs promoting his candidacy, Great America PAC.

The group is out with a new, minute-long commercial featuring Dr. Dorothy Woods, the widow of Ty Woods, a former Navy Seal and one of four Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Great America PAC says that the commercial is part of a $2 million ad buy to support the businessman in upcoming weeks, both nationally and in battleground states. It will also air during presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s convention speech Thursday night.

Woods refers to her husband as a “fierce patriot” in the commercial, who died “while saving American lives under the charge of our State Department.”

“When Hillary Clinton was challenged by Congress on who is to blame for the attack, her response was a disgrace,” Woods says, looking straight into the camera.

Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attacks has come under fierce criticism for years from Republicans and has been the subject of eight congressional inquiries and one by the State Department. None of the inquiries have found any direct wrongdoing by Clinton, but has faulted her State Department for not grasping security gaps that left the compound vulnerable.

“Dorothy Woods has powerful story that vividly displays Hillary Clinton’s failed leadership and disgraceful response to the Benghazi attack during congressional hearings,” said Brent Lowder, a top adviser to the PAC.

“This new ad accomplishes two key things – it shows a stark contrast in leadership between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and it connects with voters on an emotional level. Above all else, voters want a President that they can trust, and they increasingly know they cannot trust Hillary Clinton.”

There has been a power struggle among a number of pro-Trump super PACs aiming to be the chief home for wealthy donors hoping buoy the Trump candidacy. Initially, it seemed that Great America PAC would be the one that would win out. Great America brought on longtime Republican strategist Ed Rollins to help lead the group, along with former top Trump campaign staffer, Stuart Jolly. It also added Lowder, the former executive director of the California Republican Party.

It held conference calls with donors that featured high profile Trump endorsers including former Texas governor Rick Perry and Dr. Ben Carson, once Trump’s rival for the nomination. However, Great America’s fundraising has, so far, not picked up steam ,and has since been replaced by Rebuilding America Now, another pro-Trump super PAC which has reportedly been unofficially blessed by the Trump campaign.

At the beginning of June, Great America only had $500,000 in the bank. It reported raising just north of $3 million in the next month. For perspective, Priorities USA, the main super PAC supporting Clinton’s candidacy, raised around $12 million in the same month.

Rollins has occasionally been critical of some of Trump’s comments, at one point telling Fox Business in June that Trump’s candidacy was in “big trouble,” and that his disparaging comments about the federal judge overseeing his Trump University case “put a spear through the heart of a lot of donors.”

Trump himself has shunned television advertising for the vast majority of his campaign, instead relying on media appearances to get his campaign’s message out. Even now, while Clinton blankets the airwaves, Trump does not have any television ads airing. He proudly boasted about this discrepancy in an interview that aired on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend, telling Ted Koppel, “I haven’t literally bought an ad. I will.”