On Wednesday night, several dozen people with the means to attend an event so pricey its invitation doesn’t list an expected contribution will gather in the Park Avenue apartment of Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis to meet Jeb Bush and add to the quickly filling coffers of Right to Rise, the PAC set up to aid Mr. Bush’s presidential ambitions. The affair will be co-chaired by Mr. Kravis’ colleagues at KKR, including Ken Mehlman, who managed George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign and later became chairman of the Republican National Committee.
This is the second event Mr. Kravis, a coveted GOP donor who leads the storied leveraged buyout firm that bears his name, has hosted for Mr. Bush in a month. On the afternoon of January 8th, KKR hosted an event at its offices where the still undeclared candidate met with 80 supporters. The night before, Mr. Bush traveled to Greenwich, where an even larger crowd of 130 greeted the former Florida governor.
It’s no secret that Jeb Bush has been moving aggressively to vacuum up cash and secure support. These three events are part of that effort and the Observer’s cover story last week shared for the first time names of more than a dozen New Jersey and New York finance heavyweights who attended a fourth event – a January 8th dinner hosted by New Jersey lawyer and former RNC finance chief Larry Bathgate.
But it’s an event scheduled to take place this Thursday afternoon, February 12th, that might send the clearest signal yet of Jeb Bush’s dominance of the Republican establishment. According to two sources, including one inside the Bush organization, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will be the star attraction at a lunch hosted by Right to Rise at which Mr. Bush will also appear.Ben White writes at Politico:
The event comes as Bush continues a shock and awe approach to early 2016 fundraising that people close to the campaign say could eventually see the former governor reach a total of between $50 million and $100 million between the super PAC, a traditional political action committee and an eventual presidential campaign.Paul Blumenthal writes at The Huffington Post:
The launch of Bush's super PAC -- Right to Rise Super PAC -- marks a new phase in the post-Citizens United world of campaign spending as the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision approaches on Jan. 21.
Where many super PACs and nonprofit groups are deeply entwined with party leadership or particular candidates, no previous unlimited money group had been launched by candidates -- or potential candidates -- themselves as a means to fully evade the campaign finance limits placed on candidates soliciting large contributions and determining immediate or future strategy.
The launch of this pre-presidential campaign super PAC provides an explicit way for large, and politically important, donors to make an early statement that will shape the election before it even officially begins. This is a goal for any candidate and will almost certainly be copied by other potential candidates who are not currently in office.
There is also another loophole opened by the pre-presidential super PAC. Current rules place limits on the revolving door between super PACs and campaigns. Any super PAC hiring an employee from a campaign must wait 120 days before advertising on that campaign's behalf. But it does not apply the other way around. [emphasis added] This means Bush could use his super PAC to hire a large staff early that's funded with unlimited contributions, and then shift the employees all onto a campaign.Emma Roller and Stephanie Stamm write at National Journal:
Here, we break down that system to show the many ways individuals can donate—directly or indirectly—to benefit the presidential candidate of their choice. How much can one well-heeled philanthropist spend to influence the outcome of a presidential election over the course of a year? Below is our answer, and an exhaustive guide to all of the groups hoping to vacuum up donors' money over the next year and a half