Ryan-Backed Groups Break Fundraising Record

Ryan-Backed Groups Break Fundraising Record
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Ryan-Backed Groups Break Fundraising Record
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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A pair of outside groups aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan raised $66 million in 2017, a record haul that shattered their fundraising total in the off-year of the previous election cycle.

American Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group, and Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC, also ended 2017 with $15 million in the bank. In 2015 the groups raised less than $500,000 and ended the year with less than $1 million on hand.

The two groups are the key big-spending forces dedicated to protecting the GOP’s House majority this year.

“CLF’s record-setting off-year fundraising is a testament to Speaker Ryan’s leadership and House Republicans’ conservative agenda,” Corry Bliss, executive director for both groups, said in a statement.

The fundraising reflects an aggressive off-year strategy from the outside groups. American Action Network spent $25 million last year on ads backing Republicans’ tax legislation, and plans to continue spending to promote the law in 2018. The advocacy group also spent more than $12 million backing the effort to repeal Obamacare.

Congressional Leadership Fund opened offices with paid staffers in 27 Republican-held districts across the country, hoping to create grassroots and data operations to support lawmakers in competitive races.  The super PAC played a major role in special elections Republicans won in 2017, and recently opened district offices in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, where there will be a special election in March to replace Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned in October amid a sex scandal.

“Knowing history is against us, CLF’s field program has laid the groundwork to protect the Republican House majority well ahead of Election Day, opening 27 field offices and making over 5 million voter contacts to date,” Bliss said in the statement. “AAN is well-prepared to continue to promote the conservative policies of House leadership, and CLF is ready to ensure Republicans maintain the majority in 2018.”

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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