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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Unite The Country

Political leanings: Democratic/Pro-Joe Biden 

2018 total spending: N/A

Unite the Country is a new, single-candidate super PAC that supports former Vice President Joe Biden. It was started by former Biden aides to help promote his 2020 presidential candidacy.

Although the super PAC was established on April 10, 2019, it did not become active until six months later. During this time period, the inactive group existed under the name For The People.

A video on the super PAC’s website features Biden speaking about the need to “restore our backbone.”

We can unite this country,” Biden says, echoing the group’s title. “Folks this is the United States of America. Stand up. Take it back. We can, in fact, do anything we set our mind to. This is the United States of America.”

The group is run by top Democratic strategists as well as those who had worked on Biden’s unsuccessful past presidential campaigns and his successful campaigns as Barack Obama’s vice presidential candidate.

The organization’s board will be chaired by Mark Doyle, a nonprofit CEO who worked on Biden’s failed 2008 presidential campaign, and fellow Biden alumnus John MacNeil will serve as secretary, according to CNN. Larry Rasky, who is listed as the PAC’s treasurer, previously worked on Biden’s 1988 and 2008 presidential bids.

Steve Schale, a Unite the Country strategist, was a top campaign official in Florida for the Obama-Biden ticket in 2008 and 2012. He “played a role with an organization that sought to draft Biden into the 2016 race,” according to NBC News. But Biden declined to run at that time. 

Biden, who once opposed support from single-candidate PACs, reversed his position on outside money last October, quickly leading to the formation of Unite the Country. This came just “weeks after Biden reported having $8.98 million on hand — a figure far outmatched by rivals like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren,” according to CNN

As of Oct. 26, the group had spent nearly $38 million on independent expenditures, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which based its analysis on Federal Election Commission data. FEC defines independent expenditures as advertising that “expressly advocates” for the election or defeat of a specific candidate.

Hedge fund billionaire James Simons, has donated $3 million to the group, making him its largest individual donor, FEC records show. Other top donors include Stewart W. Bainum, Jr., chairman of Choice Hotels, who gave $2 million, and Reid Hoffman, a venture capitalist, who has donated $1.5 million. George M. Marcus, a San Francisco real estate mogul, Yaron Minsky, head of the tech group Jane Street, and Richard Blum, an investment banker and husband to Sen. Dianne Feinstein each contributed $1 million.