Future45 is a super PAC created by a trio of conservative megadonors focused on electing a Republican to be the 45th – hence the name – President of the United States in 2016. The group is headed by “veteran GOP operative Brian Walsh,” who told the National Journal that the PAC was “focused on the general” and was not planning to intervene in the 2016 Republican primary. Future45 filed its statement of organization with the FEC on March 20, 2015. The Wall Street Journal noted that Future45 was set up with a corresponding c(4) advocacy group – 45Committee.
Walsh is well known for his work as president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, “the main super PAC backing House Republicans, and its auxiliary 501(c)4 nonprofit, the American Action Network,” according to the National Journal. Walsh previously worked as political director for the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2010 cycle. Former Ambassador Ron Weiser, who also served as a finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, served as the group’s chairman, heading up its fundraising. According to Weiser, the groups are “focused on holding Secretary Clinton accountable.”
According to Politico, other members of Future45’s leadership team included Joe Pounder, who serves as President of America Rising, an opposition research firm focused on attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Sara Bonjean, a GOP fundraiser with an infamous Christmas party; and Taylor Gross, who has served on several GOP presidential campaigns and served as a spokesman in President George W. Bush’s White House.
The monetary force behind Future45 comes from conservative megadonors Paul Singer, Kenneth Griffin, William Powers, and the Ricketts family. Griffin, the owner of the Citadel Hedge Fund, is a well-known donor to the Koch Network; Mother Jones acquired documents revealing that Griffin was scheduled for a high-level meeting at a Koch conference with Charles Koch and Rich Fink, alongside Marc Short and Mike Lanzara, both of whom work for Freedom Partners. National Journal notes that Griffin “contributed more than $1.5 million to Mitt Romney’s super PAC in 2012, and another $1 million to American Crossroads.”
Griffin was reportedly supporting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2016, which raises questions about Future45’s direction – as the National Journal goes on to note, “nearly $3 million of Singer’s 2014 giving went to American Unity PAC, which backs Republicans supportive of gay marriage.” Gov. Walker, however, called for a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell.
Singer additionally gave $3.2 million to the Ending Spending Action Fund, the PAC under control of Todd and Joe Ricketts, who have also been major Walker supporters & who are also offering financial support to Future45. Todd Ricketts hosted two fundraising barbecues for Gov. Walker, one of which was attended by David Koch. Singer and Griffin both gave $250,000 in seed money to Future45, according to FEC documents released in mid-July.
The final donor was William Powers of Los Angeles, a former finance executive who donated $100,000. Although Powers keeps a lower profile than Singer or Griffin, he is a major donor on the right, with 2014 donations including $50,000 to America Rising, and $400,000 to Ending Spending. In 2012, he gave to the Reclaiming Freedom PAC.
Since the group’s founding, according to the Wall Street Journal, “a number of donors have committed millions of dollars to the effort.”