Cruz Super PAC network gets new, high-dollar fundraising arm

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Story highlights

  • The main cluster of super PAC supporting Ted Cruz is forming a new fundraising arm
  • Keep the Promise said Friday that it had launched a sixth group: Trusted Leadership PAC.

(CNN)The main cluster of super PACs supporting Ted Cruz is forming a new fundraising arm that will no longer shut out high-dollar donors who want to contribute to the groups.

Keep the Promise, the high-powered, cash-rich super PACs that are advertising on Cruz's behalf independently, said Friday that it had launched a sixth group: Trusted Leadership PAC. Keep the Promise is mostly run by three families, each of which has cut eight-digit checks to fund their own, largely private super PACs.
    That has left little room for major donors outside of that fold who want to cut checks of their own size. Keep the Promise has struggled with additional fundraising -- it was late to hire a finance staff, and it raised under $2 million in the second half of 2015 after collecting the three families' checks for $36 million in the first half. A fourth group, Keep the Promise PAC, accepted most of those new donations.
    "It's a two-person race and we now have professional fundraising help," said Kellyanne Conway, the head of Keep the Promise I, in a statement. "Keep the Promise I is a family-funded, sole source PAC that was never set up to do fundraising. We have made good on our promise to spend every dollar in support of Sen. Cruz's quest for the nomination."
    Trusted Leadership PAC, group officials say, will act as a more traditional super PAC: actively fundraising from wealthy contributors and providing a place for them to send cash -- even as the family-run groups march their own paths. It will not raise money for the other affiliated groups.
    Trusted Leadership's creation was first reported by USA Today.
    The new group has ties to Lee Hanley, a wealthy oil magnate who has been involved in the Cruz independent efforts. Hanley's wife, Alice, is listed as the treasurer of the new group.
    "Just as Republicans are coalescing in greater numbers to support Senator Cruz, the pro-Cruz Super PACs understand that together we can be more effective and efficient in promoting the candidacy of Senator Cruz," Hanley said in a statement.
    Keep the Promise officials told CNN earlier this year that they were encountering more donors eager to give and were beginning to build a more traditional fundraising infrastructure to replenish their coffers ahead of expensive states on the Republican calendar. Keep the Promise I, in particular, is low on cash, having made more than $8 million in independent expenditure.
    The half-dozen independent groups backing Cruz have had, at times, a rocky relationship with one another. Late last year, a group of Cruz fundraisers began their own super PAC distinct from the Keep the Promise umbrella, Stand for Truth, that has focused almost exclusively on negative television advertising.
    And leading Trusted Leadership's fundraising will be Kate Doner, a top finance aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who CNN has reported is doing the same job for Stand for Truth.
    Earlier this year, Keep the Promise launched a fifth group, Keep the Promise to Veterans, which has ties to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. It is unknown if that group has been successful at raising significant money.