45Committee describes itself as an "independent organization committed to promoting reforms and solutions on a wide range of public policy issues." The 45Committee states that it advocates for tax reform, tax relief, strengthening national security, ensuring quality education, and fixing "what was broken in energy, immigration, health care, and more." It has been described as a "pro-Trump nonprofit organization" by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) The 45Comittee organization was founded in 2015 to educate "Americans on possible solutions to the challenges facing the 45th President of the United States."
According to the Washington Post, 45Committee "is primarily funded" by conservative mega-donors Sheldon Adelson and Joe Ricketts. But, as the advocacy group Issue One points out, the Adelson and Ricketts contributions have never been publicly disclosed.
Brian Baker, the Ricketts family’s political adviser "is helping run" the 45Committee according to Politico. Staff is not listed on the 45Committee website, but IssueOne reports the Baker is the chairman and president of the group.
45Committee is a dark money group, meaning that avoids otherwise mandatory donor disclosure rules. In 2017, nearly half of 45Comittee's funding came from a single donor. 90 percent of the groups more than $13 million in contributions came from three unknown donors. 60 percent of the money the 45Committee raised from 2015 to 2017 was from four unidentified donors who all gave $7.5 million. At least $1 million came from seven other unknown donors during the same time period -- April 2015 and March 2017. During that time 45Committee raised $49 million. At least some of that money came from the Wellspring Committee ($750,000), Judicial Crisis Network ($250,000) and Ending Spending ($75,000)
News and Controveries
According to CREW, in 2016 45Committee spend $21.6 million on political activity mostly in advertisements supporting President Trump. During the period of April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 that spending dropped $1.7 million. But that $1.7 million spent was not all accounted for, according to CREW:
- "45Committee only reported spending $935,210 on independent expenditures during the period covered by the return, which were targeted in two special congressional elections. A search of FollowTheMoney.org, which aggregates state-level political spending data, for independent spending by 45Committee does not reveal any additional state spending. The organization also did not contribute to any federal super PACs during its 2017 tax year nor any political groups that report to the IRS, which are known as 527 organizations, according to a search of records."
In late 2017, 45Committee announced a $10 million dollar effort to back the tax reform. The combination of three seven-figure donors contributions were large enough to have entirely effort. The tax cut overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest people in America; "presumably, those three donors, whoever they may be, are pleased with the tax breaks their multi-million dollar contributions helped enact" according to CREW.
- 45Comittee Home organizational website, accessed March 7, 2019
- Matt Corley NEARLY HALF OF PRO-TRUMP DARK MONEY GROUP’S FUNDING CAME FROM A SINGLE DONOR CREW, March 6, 2019
- James Hohmann The Daily 202: The tax bill is likely to become more popular after passage. Here’s how Republicans plan to sell it. Washington Post December 20, 2017
- Issue One 45Committee database, accessed March 9, 2019
- KENNETH P. VOGEL Secret money to boost Trump Politico September 28, 2016