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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The 2016 Committee

pg16insertPolitical Leanings: Republican/Pro-Ben Carson Super PAC

Spending Target: Unknown

The 2016 Committee is a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Its mission is “to raise support and awareness of Dr. Carson’s candidacy and organize a grassroots army of activists to propel Dr. Carson through the nomination process and into the White House.”

John Philip Sousa IV is the chairman of The 2016 Committee. Sousa, a descendant of the famous composer, has been a financial consultant and one-time congressional candidate. He currently serves as a board member for the self-described low-immigration group known as the Federation for American Immigration Reform. He also has served as vice chairman of Americans Against Illegal Immigration (a now-defunct PAC active in California between 2005 and 2009). Additionally, Sousa created and served as chairman of Americans for Sheriff Joe, a PAC which supported Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection campaign in 2012.

Bill Saracino serves as the group’s national director. Saracino, a career campaign operative, has worked on more than 75 campaigns, according to The 2016 Committee’s website. Like Sousa, Saracino worked on Arpaio’s reelection in 2012.

Chuck Muth, a longtime conservative activist, is the group’s communications director. He is president of Citizen Outreach, a Nevada-based conservative advocacy organization, former executive director of the American Conservative Union, former executive director of the Nevada Republican Party, and former national chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

The 2016 Committee’s focus, according to its website, is on organizing a grassroots following, mobilizing traditional Republican voters, and especially targeting health care workers, minority voters, and evangelicals. Additionally, much of its spending goes towards the production and dissemination of education materials, most notably Sousa’s campaign primer, Ben Carson: Rx for America.

The 2016 Committee had raised nearly $10 million as of Dec. 31, 2015, according to the group’s year-end report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Among the committee’s largest donors are Colorado conservative Tatnall Hillman, who gave $56,000, and Louis Mogas, founder and chairman of Texas-based Mogas Industries, who gave $22,000. Hillman is a major donor to Republican causes.

The 2016 Committee has announced a partnership with another pro-Carson super PAC, Our Children’s Future. A statement released jointly by both organizations said Our Children’s Future will focus on fundraising from large donors, while The 2016 Committee focuses on grassroots fundraising and advocacy. Currently, the two organizations remain separate entities, but they still could combine in the future.