Home News Biden Switches Up His Big-Money Operation Ahead of 2024

Biden Switches Up His Big-Money Operation Ahead of 2024

Biden Switches Up His Big-Money Operation Ahead of 2024

President Biden and his advisers are elevating a new outside group as the leading super PAC to help re-elect him in 2024, making it the top destination for large sums of cash from supportive billionaires and multimillionaires.

The blessing of the group, Future Forward, is a changing of the guard in the important world of big-money Democratic politics. Since the 2012 election, a different group, Priorities USA, has been the leading super PAC for Democratic presidential candidates.

“In 2020, when they really appeared from nowhere and started placing advertising, the Biden campaign was impressed by the effectiveness of the ads and the overall rigorous testing that had clearly gone into the entire project,” Anita Dunn, a senior White House adviser to Mr. Biden, said of Future Forward. The group, she added, had “really earned its place as the pre-eminent super PAC supporting the Biden-Harris agenda and 2024 efforts.”

On Friday, Mr. Biden’s campaign also announced a combined fund-raising total of more than $72 million for the second quarter alongside the Democratic National Committee and their joint fund-raising committee, a figure far greater than what Donald J. Trump raised. Future Forward has raised $50 million so far this year, the group said.

Federal candidates cannot legally coordinate campaign strategy with super PACs, but officials in both parties have signaled their preferred entities for a decade. Super PACs can accept donations of unlimited size, unlike federal candidates, who must abide by contribution limits.

Future Forward, which is led by Chauncey McLean, a former official on Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, has kept a remarkably low profile for a super PAC that, along with an affiliated nonprofit arm, has raised nearly $400 million in the last five years.

The group maintains a sparse website. Mr. McLean said that Future Forward had never sent out a news release trumpeting its activity, which has included producing more than 400 advertisements.

“We keep a low profile because we’re just not the story, we’re just not important,” Mr. McLean said in a rare interview. “I just don’t see any reason for popping our head up. That’s not going to change.”

The super PAC spent more than $130 million on what are known as independent expenditure ads in the 2020 race between Mr. Biden and Donald J. Trump. It was also a major spender in the midterm elections in three crucial battlegrounds: Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Mr. McLean, who is based in Seattle, said that the group planned to run “the largest presidential I.E. in history” and that his fund-raising goal was to collect “as much as humanly possible.”

Ms. Dunn served as a consultant for Future Forward after Mr. Biden was inaugurated, according to her personal financial disclosure form. But she said she saw a key role in 2024 for other super PACs, including American Bridge, the party’s clearinghouse for opposition research, which also runs television ads.

Ms. Dunn and other White House officials have attended American Bridge donor conferences this year. The shift away from Priorities USA has been telegraphed to donors for months, since before the group’s longtime leader, Guy Cecil, announced in March that he was stepping away. Priorities this spring announced a goal to spent $74 million on digital advertising in 2024.

In a statement, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign manager, said Future Forward had been “critical” in 2020 and would “again play a key role” in 2024.

Unlike super PACs supporting Republican presidential candidates that have built on-the-ground organizations in early presidential nominating states, Future Forward will have a narrow focus on “research and advertising,” Mr. McLean said.

Mr. Biden is dispatching Katie Petrelius, the finance director on his 2020 campaign and recently a White House aide, to Future Forward to help the group raise money.

There are no immediate plans for Mr. Biden to headline any fund-raising events for the super PAC, but Ms. Dunn said such gatherings could occur in the future.

Mr. Biden, like many Democrats in the party’s crowded 2020 presidential primary, initially resisted soliciting the support of a super PAC but backtracked in the fall of 2019, when his campaign was short on cash and needed more presence on the airwaves. (“To speak to the middle class, we need to reject the super PAC system,” Mr. Biden had said that April.)

Both super PACs and nonprofit groups can accept unlimited donations, but only super PACs must disclose the names of their contributors. Future Forward’s largest disclosed contributor has been Dustin Moskovitz, a Facebook co-founder, who has given more than $50 million to the group since 2020.

The group has also received millions of dollars from Stephen F. Mandel Jr., a Connecticut hedge fund manager; Karla Jurvetson, a California philanthropist; Eric Schmidt, the former Google executive; and Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency exchange founder, who gave $5 million in October 2020.

Mr. McLean said Future Forward would be “giving back any money associated with” Mr. Bankman-Fried. The group said it had also received $1.65 million from Mr. Bankman-Fried in its nonprofit arm.


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