President Biden and his advisers are elevating a new outside group to lead super PAC to help reelect him in 2024, making him the primary destination for large sums of money from the billionaires and multi-millionaires who back him.
The group’s blessing, Future Forward, is a changing of the guard in the big-time world of big-money Democratic politics. Since the 2012 election, a different group, Priorities USA, has been the primary super PAC for Democratic presidential candidates.
“In 2020, when they really appeared out of nowhere and started running ads, the Biden campaign was impressed with the effectiveness of the ads and the overall rigorous testing that had clearly gone into the entire project,” Anita Dunn, senior consultant at the House White of Mr. Biden, said of Future Forward. The group, she added, had « truly earned its place as the preeminent super PAC in support of the Biden-Harris agenda and 2024 efforts. »
On Friday, the Biden campaign also announced combined fundraising of more than $72 million for the second quarter along with the Democratic National Committee and their Joint Fundraising Committee, far more than Donald J. Trump. 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 from both parties have been signaling their favorite entities for a decade. Super PACs can accept donations of an unlimited size, unlike federal candidates, who must meet contribution limits.
Future Forward, led by Chauncey McLean, a former presidential campaign officer for Barack Obama, has kept a remarkably low profile for a super PAC that, along with an affiliated nonprofit arm, has raised nearly $400 million over the past five years.
The group argues a poor website. Mr. McLean said Future Forward has never sent out a press release trumpeting its business, which has included producing more than 400 commercials.
“We keep a low profile because we just aren’t the story, we just don’t matter,” Mr. McLean said in a rare interview. “I see no reason to raise my head. This won’t change.
The super PAC spent more than $130 million on what’s known as independent spending advertising in the 2020 race between Biden and Donald J. Trump. He also spent big in the midterm elections in three crucial battlefields: Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Mr. McLean, who is based in Seattle, said the group planned to run « the largest presidential IE in history » and that its fundraising goal was to raise « as much as humanly possible ».
Ms. Dunn worked 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 clearing house for opposition research, which also runs TV ads.
Ms. Dunn and other White House officials attended American Bridge donor conferences this year. The move from Priorities USA had been telegraphed to donors for months, since longtime leader of the group, Guy Cecil, announced in March that he was leaving. This spring’s Priorities announced a goal to spend $74 million on digital advertising in 2024.
In a statement, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief of staff and Biden’s 2020 campaign manager, said Future Forward was « critical » in 2020 and « would again play a key role » in 2024.
Unlike super PACs backing Republican presidential candidates who have built organizations on the ground in early presidential nomination states, Future Forward will focus solely on « research and publicity, » McLean said.
Mr. Biden is sending Katie Petrelius, his 2020 campaign finance director and recent White House aide, to Future Forward to help the group raise money.
There are no immediate plans for Mr Biden to headline fundraising 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 primaries, initially resisted soliciting support for a super PAC, but backed down in the fall of 2019, when his campaign was strapped for cash and had need more presence on the airwaves. (“To speak to the middle class, we must reject the super CAP system,” Mr. Biden He said that April.)
Both super PACs and non-profit groups can accept unlimited donations, but only super PACs are required to disclose the names of their contributors. Future Forward’s biggest revealed contributor was Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, who has donated 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 founder of the disgraced cryptocurrency exchange, who donated $5 million in October 2020.
Mr. McLean said Future Forward « will return any money associated with » Mr. Bankman-Fried. The group said it also received $1.65 million from Mr. Bankman-Fried in his non-profit arm.