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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center


Political leanings: Conservative/Anti-Hillary Clinton

Spending target: Unknown

Future45 says that it is an “independent organization devoted to educating voters about the challenges facing our country as they prepare to elect the 45th President of the United States.”

The super PAC was formed in March 2015 to target former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who received the Democratic nomination for president in July 2016. Its earliest donors were hedge fund billionaires Kenneth Griffin and Paul Singer, GOP megadonors who contributed $250,000 apiece. Investor William Powers also gave $100,000, and Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and two-time Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, contributed $200,000 to the group.

But the super PAC was inactive for months after spending more than $3.3 million on advertising through February 2016. It relaunched in September with financial support from the families of GOP megadonors J. Joe Ricketts and Sheldon Adelson. An ad it aired that month, called “Crook,” compared Clinton to disgraced former President Richard Nixon.

As a super PAC, Future45’s fundraising is unlimited, but it must disclose its donors and cannot coordinate with campaigns. The 45Committee is its companion advocacy organization, focusing on “policies that promote jobs and economic opportunity for American families, strengthen national security, fix what’s broken in education, energy, immigration, health care and more,” according to its website.

As a 501(c)(4), the 45Committee can receive unlimited funds from donors, but does not have to disclose the sources of its funding. As Politico reported, that’s the pitch that Todd Ricketts, who has assumed control of both groups, is making to wealthy donors wanting to anonymously support Donald Trump, the controversial Republican presidential nominee.

Since it was formed, Future45 has raised almost $13.7 million, with $12.3 million of that being donated in September 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records. Adelson, who along with his wife, Miriam, gave the group $10 million that month, has reportedly donated as much as $25 million since then.

TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts, whose wife, Marlene, spent money opposing Trump during the Republican primaries, has donated at least $1 million to the super PAC.

To date, Future45 has spent almost $9.4 million on ads targeting Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. For its part, the 45Committee has spent at least $7.3 million on ads opposing Clinton or supporting Trump, according to CRP data.