Prospective Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is moving to get his share via a new political committee. The way he did it could blaze a new trail for candidates seeking out million-dollar donors. Bush’s action comes just before the fifth anniversary, next Wednesday, of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that restructured the campaign finance landscape. In the five years since, there’s been an explosion of political money. The organization around Bush, a former Florida governor, has created a superPAC, a species of political committee that wasn’t possible before Citizens United. It can take contributions of any amount. Confusingly, the Bush organization also set up another political action committee at the same time, an old-fashioned PAC operating with contribution limits. The PACs have the same name, Right To Rise, similar logos and the same lawyer.
Bush announced one of them – the old-fashioned one – in a smartphone video last week. Walking along a sidewalk in Manhattan, he told the camera, “Everybody, today we’re setting up the Right To Rise PAC, which is a PAC to support candidates that believe in conservative principles to allow all Americans to rise up. If you’re interested, go to righttorisepac.org.”
But for wealthy donors who are deeply interested in Jeb Bush’s political future, Right to Rise SuperPAC seems the better option. At the superPAC, donors can give hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars. Bush can even solicit the big contributions himself — something he couldn’t do as a declared candidate.