Targeting DeSantis, Trump’s team is warning states parties that super PACs cannot act as an arm of the campaign


NEW YORK (AP) – Donald Trump’s campaign seeks to weaken the efforts of a super PAC that supports rival Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign by sending a message to all of the state’s Republican parties Thursday arguing that they can’t work with a super PAC like it does. represents a filter.

David Warrington, Trump’s 2024 campaign attorney, asserts in the letter that the super PAC, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, should not be allowed to conduct traditional campaign activities that directly benefit the candidate or “serve as actual campaign weapons.”

While the letter does not refer specifically to the well-funded Never Back Down organization, it is aimed at the super PAC, which is officiating. an expanded role complementary to the DeSantis campaign, Such as helping voters fill out pledge cards supporting him at the Iowa caucuses and hosting the governor as a “special guest” on multi-city bus tours.

The speech is the latest example of efforts by Trump, the frontrunner in the Republican primary, to use his influence across the state’s Republican parties to solidify his position. he He was also particularly aggressive in encouraging parties to develop bases Your preference in the delegation selection process that will ultimately decide next year’s GOP nominee.

With less than a month left until the first GOP presidential debate of the 2024 campaign, seven candidates say they have met the qualifications for a spot on the stage in Milwaukee. (31 July)

In a statement Thursday, the Trump campaign said it had received questions from some state parties and Republican voters “who fear that the process will be hijacked by outside entities that will jeopardize the integrity of the partisan process and its rules and that individual Republican voters in their state will have their votes diluted by actors.” nonpartisan like superPACs”.

Erin Perrin, a spokeswoman for Never Back Down, said in a statement, “It is absolutely clear that the former president and his campaign are terrified of Governor DeSantis and the Never Back Down movement behind his candidacy. She will never back down from doing everything within the law to achieve our goal of having the former president retire.”

DeSantis campaignany He is facing a financial crisisShe has repeatedly said that she is taking advantage of offers to have him make guest appearances at Never Back Down events as part of her efforts to make the most of her resources. DeSantis He also announced this week his new deputy campaign manager It would be David Polyansky, the strategist who advised never to back down.

The relationship was on full display Thursday as DeSantis and his wife were scheduled to appear in Coralville, Iowa as special guests of the Super PAC, traveling on a bus branded Never Back Down.

“We will continue to follow the law while maximizing our resources to get Ron DeSantis’ message to reverse this country’s decline and lead America’s Great Return to as many voters as possible,” Andrew Romeo, DeSantis’ campaign communications director, said in a statement.

Trump, from his early days in the White House, has worked to expand his grip on the states periphery. He’s spent years helping allies win party positions, including presidential ones, and his political team has worked to rewrite the rules about delegates.

His broad popularity in the GOP also makes him a huge draw for parties looking to raise money, as he did on Friday when his keynote address at a GOP dinner in Alabama brought in $1.2 million in contributions — a party record.

The Trump campaign declined to cite any specific instances or activities in which it feels violations of election law occurred, but said, “It is known that a number of lower-level campaigns, such as DeSantis’ campaign, have not been able to raise their campaign. As a result, they have attempted to outsource their campaigns to superPACs.”

The letter warns that in addition to any penalties under federal law that the candidate or the super PAC could face for violating rules regarding illegal coordination, government parties that facilitate these activities may themselves face civil or criminal penalties.

“It’s just saber rattling in general and it’s very broad in parts and somewhat short-handed. It’s a fair general description of the law,” said Brett Cabell, a campaign finance attorney who has advised Republicans and Democrats and reviewed a copy of the speech.

Kappel said the rules around illegal formatting are narrow and would need to involve something like the state party working with the super PAC to send communications to the public supporting or opposing a candidate.

He said a super PAC that operates independently of a campaign is completely free to “speak for” the candidate it supports but cannot present itself as authorized or official representatives of a candidate.

Warrington’s letter also seeks to discourage any state party from allowing the super PAC to play a role in the process of recruiting people to serve as the delegates who formally select the candidate at the party’s national convention.

Campaigns typically want supporters to act as delegates to ensure they get the party’s nomination and avoid any rule changes at the nominating convention that are not in their favor.

“Allowing members of the upper management boards to interfere in this process weakens the relationship between voters and the candidates themselves,” Warrington wrote in the letter.

Perrine did not respond to a question Thursday about whether Never Back Down was involved in the authorization process.

A super PAC can recruit people to serve as delegates who choose the party’s nominee as long as they do so independently of the campaign, Kappel said.

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