The super PAC supporting former vice president Joe Biden has joined forces with liberal operative David Brock's opposition research group to form a $175 million network opposing President Donald Trump.
Pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country and Brock's American Bridge PAC announced Monday they will collaborate on research, polling, and ad buys against President Trump. The groups are teaming up in hopes of surpassing the Priorities USA super PAC, which is affiliated with the Democratic Party, as the largest outside group backing Biden's candidacy.
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The coalition's resources, however, could extend far beyond the $175 million benchmark the groups have publicly stated as their goal. The pro-Biden PAC's founders also started a massive dark money group that will spend tens of millions during the 2020 cycle. The new partnership may also heighten an existing rivalry between Priorities and Brock's network of groups and could ultimately divert money away from official party organs such as the cash-strapped Democratic National Committee.
Officials from Unite the Country and American Bridge said they formed the coalition to avoid competing against one another for fundraising and to ensure there is no redundancy between the PACs. The partnership will be led by former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.
Future Majority, a dark money organization that plans to spend $60 million in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, went unmentioned in the groups' announcement despite its close proximity to the coalition. Future Majority lists Matthew Tompkins, a D.C. fundraiser, as its governor in D.C. business records. Tompkins also established Unite the Country. Brock has already poured millions into the same states as Future Majority and will spend $50 million on similar efforts leading up to the November elections.
Unite the Country and American Bridge did not respond to requests for comment on their partnership and the role Future Majority may play in their upcoming campaign.
Priorities USA, meanwhile, has so far raised $27 million this cycle and plans to spend at least $150 million. It raised $192 million throughout the 2016 election cycle. The pro-Biden PAC and Brock's American Bridge PAC have combined to take in $35 million, according to their most recent reports to the Federal Election Commission.
George Soros's Democracy PAC has given to both Priorities USA ($3 million) and American Bridge ($2 million) this year. Other deep-pocketed donors like Bernard Schwartz, chairman of the New York-based private investment firm BLS Investments, have also given to Priorities ($100,000), American Bridge ($450,000), and Unite the Country ($300,000).
The New York Times reported that allies of Brock's group and Priorities are pushing party officials to have Biden's campaign "signal" which of the groups it prefers. The rivalry may force donors to pick which network to fund moving forward.
Tension between Brock-supported groups and party officials has mounted for years. Operatives and organizers expressed hostility toward Brock following the 2016 election and urged him to stop attempting to help the Democratic Party.
A senior official for Clinton's campaign called Brock's constellation of PACs and organizations "useless" and said his tens of millions spent on the election might as well have been thrown "down a well."
A former Obama administration official was more forceful in criticizing Brock, calling him "f—ing weird" and likening him to the character Mugatu from the movie Zoolander. "I don't know what the f— [Brock's network] did besides raise a ton of money, and I don't think the after-action report on 2016 says we need more David Brock," the official said at the time. "Probably the opposite is true."
Despite the criticism, Brock wasted no time getting back into the fold after Trump's election. The operative held a secret gathering in Florida, as Trump was being sworn into office, where he pitched his four-year plan of kicking "Donald Trump's ass" to more than 100 liberal donors. The plan was detailed in confidential documents obtained on-site by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Biden campaign and Priorities USA did not respond to requests for comment.