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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Right to Rise USA/Right to Rise Policy Solutions

pg16insertPolitical leanings: Republican/Pro-Jeb Bush Super PAC

Spending target: Unknown

Right to Rise USA, a super PAC, was formed and registered with the Federal Election Commission in January 2015. Until Jeb Bush declared his candidacy on June 15, Right to Rise served as a make-shift “campaign-in-waiting,” paying “a series of staffers and vendors who ultimately took roles with the official campaign,” according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Veteran GOP media consultant Mike Murphy is the chief strategist for Right to Rise USA. Murphy has worked for, among others, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain.

In February, Bill Simon (a former chief executive of Wal-Mart) formed Right to Rise Policy Solutions, a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organization that can raise unlimited amounts of money without having to disclose its donors, as the Washington Post reported.

As a super PAC, Right to Rise USA can “raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates,” as explained by the Center for Responsive Politics. But the PAC must disclose its donors.

“Unlike traditional PACs, super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates, and their spending must not be coordinated with that of the candidates they benefit. Super PACs are required to report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or semiannual basis – the super PAC’s choice – in off-years, and monthly in the year of an election,” the center writes.

According to Bloomberg, Paul Lindsay, the chief spokesman for the PAC Right to Rise USA and the policy group Right to Rise Policy Solutions, has stated that although the nonprofit and PAC may work together, they have “separate and distinct missions.” Bloomberg also indicated that Lindsay has declined to report how much Right to Rise Policy Solutions has raised or to identify specific donors.

Based on data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Right to Rise USA has received the most money of any super PAC for the 2016 cycle. According to its mid-year report, Right to Rise USA has, so far, raised $103.2 million and has spent $5.5 million, as of June 30, 2015. Politico explains that the super PAC’s fundraising has even eclipsed that of Bush’s campaign committee.

The largest donor to the super PAC, at least through June 30, 2015, was Miguel Fernandez, founder and chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners in Florida. He has made three donations totaling a little more than $3 million. Other top donors include Hushang Ansary, a former Iranian ambassador to the United States, and his wife, Shahla, who each donated $1 million. Texas oilman Ray Hunt and his wife, Nancy Ann, each gave $1 million. And Rooney Holdings Inc., a construction and real estate company, gave $1 million, while NextEra Energy, a Florida electric utility, contributed $1,025,000.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, several other political action committees have donated to Right to Rise USA for the 2016 cycle. Some large contributions have come from the International Association of Fire Fighters ($50,000), Chris Collins for Congress ($50,000), Florida East Coast Industries ($37,000) and Eastman Chemical ($30,000).

Fact-checking Right to Rise USA:

Bush Attacks Obama, With All Due Respect, Oct. 23, 2015

False Debate Claims Put in Ads, Dec. 22, 2015

Is Kasich ‘Worst’ on Spending? Feb. 12, 2016