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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Priorities USA Action

Political leanings: Democratic/liberal

2022 total spending: $28 million

Priorities USA Action was formed in 2011 by former White House staffers Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney to help reelect then-President Barack Obama in 2012. It was also the primary outside spending group for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020.

The group, a registered hybrid political action committee, states on its website that it focuses on creating “compelling digital campaigns that persuade and mobilize voters in battleground states to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Danielle Butterfield serves as its executive director. Prior to her role at Priorities USA Action, Butterfield worked on digital advertising campaigns for Obama in 2012 and Clinton in 2016. Guy Cecil, the hybrid PAC’s longtime chairman and chief strategist, stepped down from his post in March 2023.

As part super PAC, Priorities USA Action can raise unlimited amounts of money for independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates — but it must disclose its donors. As part traditional PAC, it may donate money to the campaigns of candidates directly. Federal rules require hybrid PACs, also known as Carey committees, to maintain separate bank accounts for each purpose.

In addition, an affiliated 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, Priorities USA, can raise unlimited amounts of money without disclosing its donors. The group also has a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Priorities USA Foundation, which formed in 2017.

In April 2023, Priorities USA Action announced a goal of spending $75 million on “digital mobilization and persuasion programming in six battleground states” during the current election cycle. “With this investment, Priorities will support President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their path to reelection in 2024 and bolster Democrats’ presence to diverse audiences of voters online,” the PAC said in a press release.

In November, the group said it plans to focus exclusively on digital advertising instead of running television ads. It also added that it would expand beyond the presidential race, “utilizing innovative digital strategies and research to win races up and down the ballot.”

As of December, Priorities USA Action reported that it had raised over $1.6 million and spent roughly $294,000 on independent expenditures, mostly supporting Biden’s candidacy. During the 2022 midterms, it spent almost $28 million in total, a fraction of the over $138 million it spent in the 2020 election cycle.

Staff Writer D’Angelo Gore contributed to this article.