Political leanings: Democratic/liberal
2020 total spending: $84.7 million
American Bridge 21st Century is a liberal super PAC that conducts opposition research to aid Democratic candidates and organizations. The group changed its name to AB PAC in November 2019.
The group was founded in November 2010 by David Brock, a conservative-turned-liberal activist. After making a name for himself as a self-described “right-wing hit man,” Brock reinvented himself as a liberal crusader. In 2004, Brock founded Media Matters, which monitors “conservative misinformation.” Brock also founded Correct the Record, a pro-Hillary Clinton hybrid PAC/super PAC known as a Carey committee, which began as an arm of American Bridge but split off in 2015 to become an independent committee.
As a super PAC, American Bridge can accept unlimited donations and is largely funded by major Democratic donors and labor unions. Bradley Beychok, a former president of Media Matters, is the co-founder of the super PAC and served as the group’s president until March 2021, when he was succeeded by Jessica Floyd, who previously had been managing director of campaigns for the Hub Project, which advocates progressive causes.
American Bridge raised $85.5 million in 2020, and spent nearly all of it on independent expenditures, which the Federal Election Commission defines as spending on communications that “expressly advocate” for the election or defeat of a specific candidate. The majority of that spending (about $51 million) went for ads that opposed then-President Donald Trump, including $25 million on an ad campaign in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — states that Trump narrowly won in 2016. The ads, which targeted “likely Trump defectors” and undecided voters, featured attacks on Trump’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden won all three states en route to becoming president.
The largest donors in the 2020 cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings, included Deborah Simon, daughter of the late property developer Melvin Simon, who contributed $6 million; Phillip Ragon, CEO and founder of the technology company InterSystems, who gave $2.5 million; and Stephen Mandel, founder of the hedge fund Lone Pine Capital, who donated $3.5 million.
The super PAC has set a goal of raising $100 million for the midterm elections, the Washington Post reported last year. As of July 31, it has raised over $39 million for the 2022 election cycle, according to the FEC.
Major donors for this cycle, as of July 31, once again include Mandel, who has donated $4.15 million, and Simon, who has donated $3.5 million. In addition, Michael Moritz, a partner at Sequoia Capital, has donated $3 million, and the Democracy PAC has donated $2 million. American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, a related nonprofit, has contributed nearly $3 million.
FactCheck.org Undergraduate Fellow Tess Hancock contributed to this article.