Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul

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Washington (CNN)Sen. Ted Cruz supporters set up this week a nexus of four super PACs to support his presidential run, according to FEC filings.

Keep the Promise PAC said Wednesday in a release the web of political action committees will haul in $31 million by the end of the week, a figure CNN could not independently verify. The super PACs, which can solicit unlimited donation amounts, won't disclose their finances until the first Federal Elections Commission filing deadline July 31.
Cruz's haul was an eye-popping amount as he strives to prove he can compete with the much-vaunted fundraising efforts from likely rival Jeb Bush. It's a reminder that there's plenty of money to be had in the increasingly crowded GOP field as well.
FEC filings for the three of the four super PACs -- including the three others, Keep the Promise II and Keep the Promise III -- list the same mailing address, bank and treasurer, Dathan Voelter, an attorney and accountant based in Austin, Texas, who is listed in the press release as having "strong personal and family ties to Senator Cruz."
    Voelter donated $500 to Cruz's Senate campaign in 2011, according to FEC records.
    A fourth super PAC, Keep the Promise I, will coordinate in the same way with the other super PACs, but lists a Long Island, New York, address on FEC filings and Jacquelyn James as treasurer. That came at the request of a major donor to the effort.
    Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts independently, but cannot donate to or coordinate with a specific campaign.
    "Our goal is to guarantee Sen. Cruz can compete against any candidate," Voelter said in the release. "Supporters of the Senator now have a powerful vehicle with the resources necessary to aid in his effort to secure the Republican nomination and win back The White House."
    The super PACs will file separate financial disclosures but are "affiliated with one another for legal and regulatory purposes," according to FEC filings.
    The unorthodox setup drew raised eyebrows from campaign finance experts like Kenneth Gross, who said he had never heard of a network of linked super PACs with the same treasurer and near identical names.
    "I don't see any benefit from it from a legal standpoint," Gross said, noting that the groups could essentially act as one entity regardless. "They might as well be one committee."
    Gross said the groups could potentially limit their liability, in the case of delinquent payments or a defamation lawsuit, for example, but said even that kind of defense would not be fool proof.
    But Voelter told CNN the super PAC structure was set up to give different major donors more control and flexibility over their PAC's operations.
    And as more deep-pocketed donors join the independent Cruz-backing money machine, more "Keep the Promise" super PACs could emerge.