Political leanings: Republican/Pro-President Trump
2018 total spending: $9 million
Great America PAC was formed in February 2016 as TrumPAC to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but soon became known as Great America PAC after the Federal Election Commission warned that it could not use the name of a candidate.
As a so-called “Carey committee” — a traditional political action committee and super PAC hybrid — Great America PAC can contribute to a candidate’s campaign committee and make independent expenditures, provided the funds for each purpose are kept separate.
Great America PAC “raised and spent over $30 million in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy” in 2016, “broadcasting more than 20,000 TV spots and 300,000 radio ads,” according to its website. It spent more than $23 million that year on independent expenditures, which is spending on advertising that expressly advocates for the election or defeat of a federal candidate.
Republican strategist Ed Rollins continues to lead the Great America PAC, its website says. Rollins is a Fox News contributor who managed President Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign in 1984, and was inducted into the Political Consultants Hall of Fame in 2011. Great America PAC paid Rollins more than $300,000 in 2016, and so far has received $10,000 per month from the group in the 2020 campaign cycle.
In 2018, the PAC’s largest donation was $550,000 from a sister nonprofit organization, Great America Alliance. As a nonprofit, the Great America Alliance is registered with the Internal Revenue Service, not the FEC, and does not have to disclose its donors. The nonprofit reported raising $3.5 million in 2017, according to its most recent IRS report filed in March.
Brent Lowder, who served as executive director of Great America PAC in 2016, became executive director of the Great America Alliance in January 2017, and is the president of the Great America Alliance, according to the IRS filing. Lowder is also president of Apex Strategy Group, which has done work for both the pro-Trump PAC and nonprofit.
“That same team [as Great America PAC] of seasoned professionals now leads Great America Alliance, a 501(c)4 research and issue advocacy organization whose mission is to advocate for a stronger economy, a more secure nation, and a society with less government intrusion and more freedom for American citizens,” its website says.
In 2018, Great America PAC also received $400,000 from conservative megadonor Robert Mercer, a former co-chief executive officer of the hedge fund firm Renaissance Technologies, and $100,000 from Richard “Dick” Uihlein, the CEO of shipping and industrial supplies company Uline.
As of April 22, Great America PAC had spent over $3.9 million in independent expenditures: nearly all of it to support Trump, while modest amounts were spent against Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
As of March 31, the super PAC had raised $4.2 million for the 2020 campaign. James Blankenship, a Florida retiree, is the super PAC’s top donor, giving about $30,000 for this cycle. Lyons Brown, another Florida retiree, has contributed $25,000.
FactCheck.org Undergraduate Fellow Mitchell Aronoff contributed to this article.