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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Red White and Blue Fund

Political leanings: Republican/Pro-Santorum Super PAC

Spending target: Undisclosed

The Red White and Blue Fund is a “super PAC” formed in October 2011 to support Rick Santorum’s candidacy.

The PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money, was started by Iowa political consultant Nick Ryan, a longtime political adviser to former Iowa Rep. Jim Nussle. Ryan is chairman of Team Iowa PAC, a statewide political action committee, and was a founder of the conservative American Future Fund, a national 501(c)(4) that got involved in the 2010 midterm congressional elections. The spokesman of the Red White and Blue Fund is Stuart Roy, a former communications director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

RWB, as the group also calls itself, spent far less than super PACs supporting other Republican presidential candidates in the early stages of the nomination process. It purchased air time in Iowa and South Carolina, for example, but not in New Hampshire. As of Dec. 29, RWB reported it had spent a little more than $200,000.

Update, July 24: By the time Santorum ended his candidacy in April, the group had spent a little more than $7.5 million on his behalf. That was well short of the amount spent by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future and the pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future, but more than the pro-Perry super PAC Make Us Great Again.

Foster Friess, a Wyoming-based investment banker, is among the group’s major contributors. He has given $2.1 million, 25 percent of the group’s total receipts. In a biography on his company website, the self-described born-again Christian said he is also a “major investor in the Daily Caller,” a website launched by conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson. The Columbia Journalism Review reported that Freiss invested $3 million in the Daily Caller.

The treasurer of the Red White and Blue Fund is Christopher M. Marston, who held top positions in the George W. Bush administration as assistant secretary for management at the Education Department and chief of staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also was an aide to then-Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio and then-Gov. Bob Taft of Ohio. Marston is now a principal partner in Election CFO, a compliance consulting company. His wife, Michelle, was once chief of staff to Rep. Michele Bachmann, who dropped her bid for the GOP presidential nomination after finishing sixth in the Iowa caucuses.