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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Make America Number 1

pg16insertPolitical leanings: Republican/Anti-Hillary Clinton

Spending target: Unknown

Make America Number 1 is a super PAC that formed to oppose Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president in June 2016.

On its web site, the group says its goal is “to make clear to the American voter the full extent of the untrustworthiness of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) by focusing on the corruption of the Clinton Machine and especially the corruption of the Clinton Foundation.”

The PAC, which also goes by the name Defeat Crooked Hillary, was initially founded as Keep the Promise I, and it raised more than $19 million, mostly from conservative mega-donor Robert Mercer, to support Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican primary.

According to Time, “The super PAC was originally started as a way for donors who backed Republican nominee Donald Trump’s rivals during the primaries to have a sway of the general election.”

In addition, Bloomberg reported that the PAC has been seen by some donors as a way to oppose Clinton without having to formally support Donald Trump.

Since its inception, the group has spent more than $3 million on broadcast ads and other media largely focused on attacking Hillary Clinton.

The PAC was founded by veteran political operative and Mercer family confidante David Bossie, who in September left the organization to join the Trump campaign as its deputy campaign manager. The Washington Post reported that Bossie also stepped down from his role as president of Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group best known for being the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down many of the regulations limiting corporate and union contributions to campaigns. However, as of October 2016, Citizens United’s website still lists him as the organization’s president.

Rebekah Mercer, daughter of Robert Mercer and chairman of the Citizens United super PAC since it was founded as Keep the Promise, has taken over as the day-to-day operations manager of the group since Bossie’s departure. Mercer had reportedly previously worked with Trump’s now-campaign manager Steve Bannon to fund a movie for “Clinton Cash,” a book that investigated foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Mercer family also reportedly donated $10 million to Breitbart, a conservative, pro-Trump news website, in 2011.

In August, the group also hired former Mike Huckabee spokesman and communications adviser Hogan Gidley to be its communications director. In the past, Gidley served as communications director on Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign and as executive director for Huckabee’s Huck PAC.