The new super PAC launched to back Joe Biden's presidential candidacy is linked to Democratic operatives who run a $60 million dark money "strategy center" for the 2020 election cycle, filings show, contradicting claims the PAC is a grassroots effort.
While the Biden campaign had previously said it does not welcome help from super PACs, records show that the same operatives involved in the creation of Unite the Country created the initial Biden PAC, For the People, and have been working to push moderate Democratic messaging.
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As the Biden campaign has dealt with low fundraising numbers, it has changed its tune on accepting help from super PACs. The creation of a PAC, which Biden claims is a "grassroots response," will allow major Democratic donors to give unlimited sums to aid Biden on his path to the nomination.
While the PAC, Unite the Country, was only established earlier this week, Democratic operatives Matt Tompkins and Mark Riddle are listed as directors of Unite the Country, Inc., which was incorporated by Tompkins on April 10 in Washington, D.C., according to a search of filings with the city's of department of consumer and regulatory affairs. Tompkins also established the initial Biden PAC, For the People.
Tompkins and Riddle are also involved in Future Majority, a D.C.-based dark money strategy center working to "rebrand" the Democratic Party. Riddle is executive director of the group. Tompkins was not publicly tied to Future Majority at the time of the group's announcement, but was listed as a governor in its D.C. business records, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Future Majority was launched to provide "strategic advice" to liberal groups, communications, and a war room to debunk "fake news" and "counter conservative social media." The group is focusing on midwestern states for the 2020 election cycle and has a $60 million budget.
Inquiries sent to Future Majority on Riddle's and Tompkins's involvement with Unite the Country were not returned by press time.
Riddle and Tompkins also both worked at the New Leaders Council, a center "for progressive Millennial thought leadership."
Tompkins on April 24 submitted paperwork to the Federal Election Commission establishing the Biden PAC. The same day Tompkins started the PAC, additional paperwork was submitted changing its name to the G Street PAC. The PAC would eventually be named the For the People PAC.
Riddle, who did not respond to previous inquiries from the Free Beacon, called Tompkins's involvement with both the dark money group and the former Biden PAC "an interesting coincidence" when questioned by RealClearPolitics.
The filings for the new Unite the Country PAC show that it is a revamped version of the For the People PAC.
Politico noted that Larry Rasky, the PAC's listed treasurer, worked on two of Biden's former presidential campaigns. Riddle, executive director of Future Majority, and Julianna Smoot, the deputy director for Obama's 2012 campaign, were mentioned as individuals "in talks" to head the PAC. Smoot also advises Future Majority.
"It's no great secret that the presidential race will be won or lost in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio—if we can win back the narrative that the word ‘Democrat’ equals people who are fighting for folks who work hard every day, we can continue to win elections," Riddle previously said of the Future Majority effort. "If [Democrats] get defined as being about socialism and these other words people can hear about out of Washington, then I worry."
Dan Sena, the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2018 midterm election cycle, was also tapped to advise the group. Democratic megadonors Philip Munger, son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles Munger, and Dan Tierney, the former managing director of KCG Holdings, a financial services company that was sold in 2017, co-chair the group.