First on CNN: Pro-Trump group preps advertising barrage

Story highlights

  • A super PAC backing Donald Trump is preparing an advertising barrage
  • It's expecting over $60 million in commitments

Cleveland (CNN)Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Donald Trump super PAC that had previously failed to attract the financial support that it once hoped, is preparing an advertising barrage that promises to be the first major advertising campaign on behalf of the Republican nominee.

"There's a lot of money out there," said Ken McKay, the head of the group, told CNN. "You're starting to see enough donors now where you can actually feel there will be significantly more than that. People want to get involved in this race."
    And the super PAC this week will begin a multi-million advertising campaign nationally and in swing states, significantly easing the disparity on television between pro-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton forces this summer.
    The group has produced about 10 advertisements, and a 60-second, positive ad featuring Trump's own words, "America Soaring," begins Tuesday nationally on cable. And next week, that ad and still-to-be-determined negative spots against Clinton land in battleground states, their first swing-state advertising of the cycle.
    One of the spots, "Outsourcing," hits Clinton for speeches she gave abroad while her family foundation accepted cash from foreign countries. Clinton explains to an audience in New Delhi that she is able to do little about outsourcing, while numbers flash on the screen detailing various payments she received from large international companies.
    "She gave this speech, then got $1,000,000 from India in 2008 for the Clinton Foundation," the ad reads as music in the south Asian tradition plays in the background. "She's earned India's trust."
    The group plans to be on the air until Election Day. They declined to identify a total buy size.
    The group says it's expecting more than $60 million in commitments, including a roughly $20 million gift from an unidentified donor.
    But the numbers should be viewed with skepticism: The group's founder has previously said that he collected $32 million in commitments -- though $30 million of that has yet to arrive six weeks after the flashy announcement was made. The most recent financial documents showed the PAC had only raised $2.1 million so far.
    The group is expecting to receive a $3 million donation early this week, along with two matching $3 million donations. That cash, combined with the $20 million gift and the $32 million that they had previously said to expect, means Rebuilding America Now would have about $60 million at its disposal for summer advertising.
    It comes from both traditional, brand-name Republican donors alongside people drawn by Trump.
    If realized, that sum would leapfrog the Trump super PACs over similar groups, who have struggled to raise large dollars. At least four other groups have tried to raise cash for independent expenditures, but none have demonstrated that they are financially viable, and some have missed their fundraising goals by tens of millions of dollars.
    The campaign has had an uneasy relationship with the PACs, not officially sanctioning them given Trump's populist rhetoric. Yet Democrats have pilloried Trump on television all summer, and without a major PAC, Trump is sure to be heavily outspent on advertising, perhaps by unprecedented margins.
    Rebuilding America Now, though, has several ties to the Trump campaign that gives it a blessing of sorts from Trump Tower. McKay, a former chief of staff to the RNC, was an unpaid adviser to the Trump campaign. A top PAC staffer, Laurie Gay, is a longtime associate of Paul Manafort, Trump's top adviser. And the group's founder, Tom Barrack, is close with Trump personally, though his role in the PAC has been scaled back drastically.
    The organization has also made several key hires to manage its growing budget: Christina Culver, a former fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is now their finance director. And Jimmy McLaughlin, the brother of one Trump pollster and the business associate of a second, is doing polling for the super PAC.