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.

8 transactions on record as a recipient.

Ordered By: Year (Newer to Older)

1Exelon CorporationAmerican Action Network$5,0002012+
2Americans for Job SecurityAmerican Action Network$25,0002012+
3Annual FundAmerican Action Network$100,0002012+
4AetnaAmerican Action Network$3,000,0002011+
5PhRMAAmerican Action Network$4,500,0002010+
6Republican Jewish CoalitionAmerican Action Network$4,000,0002010+
7Crossroads GPSAmerican Action Network$500,0002010+
8Wellspring CommitteeAmerican Action Network$305,5002010+
The transactions in Conservative Transparency are based on information reported by the donors and exclude 'dark money' raised by the recipients from unknown donors that are not in the database. For more information about our methodology, visit our about page.