The American Action Network (AAN) is a center-right “action tank” founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman and former Nixon aide Fred Malek. Brian Walsh serves as AAN’s president, and a sister nonprofit organization, the American Action Forum, is run by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin. AAN carries out its mission to “create, encourage and promote center-right policies” largely by spending money on ads targeting Democrats. In 2012, the vast majority of AAN’s spending total went toward attacks on Democratic candidates for the House. Unlike similar outside spending groups, AAN’s spending actually decreased from the 2010 midterms to 2012, likely due to the emergence of similar organizations such as the Congressional Leadership Fund, a related super PAC that is also led by Coleman, Malek, and Walsh.

The American Action Network ran an ad during the November 10, 2015 Fox Business GOP Primary Debate in which the group portrayed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a quasi-Communist agency built to deny consumer loans. Repealing or taking the teeth from the CFPB has been a priority for big business groups like the US Chamber of Commerce since it was created, part of a campaign to attack all facets of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act. View the ad below:


Notable Facts:

  • In its application to the IRS seeking tax-exempt status, AAN said that only “a minor portion of its activities may be classified as political campaign intervention.”
  • In 2012, AAN waded into the Republican Senate primary in Indiana, spending more than $645,000 against eventual nominee Richard Mourdock, who defeated longtime incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar before losing in the general election.
  • The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the IRS to “investigate whether the American Action Network (AAN) has violated tax law” after AAN spent millions attempting to defeat Democratic candidates.
  • American Action Network used to share office space with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

View Financial Record
Grants In
Grants Out
Total Expenses
12012$14,646,996$22,578,115$22,556,387$1,618,091$11,482,833View 990
22011$3,165,233$27,479,384$27,479,380$1,785,035$25,692,334View 990
32010$1,351,678$2,750,372$2,750,351$0$1,446,675View 990

9 transactions on record as a donor.

Ordered By: Year (Newer to Older)

Showing record as donor
1American Action NetworkAmerican Action Forum$1,550,0002012+
2American Action NetworkCongressional Leadership Fund$48,0912012+
3American Action NetworkThe Churchill Centre$10,0002012+
4American Action NetworkNational Republican Club of Capitol Hill$10,0002012+
5American Action NetworkAmerican Action Forum$565,0002011+
6American Action NetworkHeartland Institute$300,0002011+
7American Action NetworkRepublican Jewish Coalition$200,0002011+
8American Action NetworkCenter to Protect Patient Rights$200,0002011+
9American Action NetworkSusan B. Anthony List$20,0002011+
Contributions from private foundations and other nonprofit entities are based on a review of publicly available Forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service. For more information about our methodology, visit our about page.