The Changing Fortunes of Political Action Committees

The Changing Fortunes of Political Action Committees

Former President Donald Trump’s once-formidable political action committee, Save America PAC, is facing financial challenges. Recent data from the Federal Election Commission reveals that the PAC now has just $3 million on hand, a significant drop from the $18 million it had at the start of the year. In the first half of 2023, the PAC raised over $15 million but spent more than $30 million, with a large portion going toward legal fees. These figures indicate that the robust small-dollar donor operation that helped sustain Trump’s political fundraising efforts may be waning.

Diminishing Small-Dollar Contributions

During the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s campaign and affiliated outside groups amassed over $300 million from donors who contributed $200 or less. This accounted for nearly half of all donations received. However, recent developments suggest that the enthusiasm among middle-class Americans to financially support Trump’s political endeavors has diminished. Observers, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, note that a substantial portion of these small-dollar contributions has been directed towards covering Trump’s legal expenses.

Christie Seeks Alternative Support

Despite trailing in the polls behind Trump, Christie has managed to secure support from well-funded sources. FEC records indicate that Christie’s campaign has received significant financial backing. Christie himself confirmed meeting with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, whose Americans for Prosperity Action has raised over $70 million and is actively allocating resources against Trump in the primary. This development suggests that potential rivals against Trump may find alternative sources of financial support, redirecting funds away from Trump’s PAC.

DeSantis and Biden: Super PAC Success

In contrast to Save America PAC’s struggles, political action committees affiliated with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden have achieved substantial fundraising success. DeSantis’ super PAC had an impressive haul of over $130 million in the first half of the year, with over $96 million still available. Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign committees and joint fundraising committees raised over $70 million in the second quarter alone. These significant fundraising figures reflect the strong support and financial backing that both DeSantis and Biden command.

Make America Great Again PAC Faces Spending Issues

Make America Great Again, Inc., another pro-Trump super PAC, is encountering spending challenges heading into the second half of 2023. Despite raising approximately $14 million in the same period, the PAC has already spent over $37 million on a range of expenses. Notably, it disbursed over $20,000 earlier this year at Trump’s private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. With $30 million remaining on hand, the super PAC may struggle to maintain its financial momentum in the coming months.

The financial landscape of political action committees is constantly evolving. Although Trump’s Save America PAC has experienced a decline in funds, other PACs, such as those supporting DeSantis and Biden, are thriving. The changing fortunes of these PACs illustrate the fluid nature of political fundraising and the importance of adaptability in securing financial support for political campaigns.


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