Paul Ryan-aligned outside group sees accelerated donations – Washington Examiner

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The political nonprofit aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will report raising $14.5 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016.

The figure, revealed in the most recent financial disclosure for American Action Network, shows a sharp uptick in fundraising since Ryan assumed the gavel from his predecessor, John Boehner of Ohio, in the fall of 2015. AAN’s activity and spending has only accelerated since.

This calendar year, AAN has invested nearly $13 million on advertising promoting Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. The group’s affiliated super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, has spent $8.6 million to help Republicans hold on in special House elections in Georgia and Montana. That’s nearly $22 million spent, combined, in less than 6 months.

“We are proud of AAN’s influence and impact in advocating for center-right solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges,” AAN executive director Corry Bliss said in a statement shared with the Washington Examiner. “AAN’s strong reputation and continued growth is a testament to the organization’s effectiveness. We look forward to building on prior success and have set goals to reach new levels in the year to come.”

American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund were founded by veteran GOP financier Fred Malek and former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. They are where House GOP leadership directs donors who want to give more than candidates, incumbents and party committees can accept under federal contribution limits.

AAN, a 501(c)4 organization, gave the Washington Examiner a first look at the information it reported on the form 990 that it will file with the Internal Revenue Service this week. The $14.5 million the group raised in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, was higher than AAN reported in previous years that did not directly coincide with a general election. In the fiscal year ending two years previous, AAN raised only $9.4 million.

Among the group’s higher-profile initiatives during the fiscal year ending last June was a $3 million ad campaign it ran on television, radio and via direct mail in 70 congressional districts urging Republican members to work with Ryan “to fight for conservative solutions and protect America’s seniors.”

Similarly, AAN’s advertising this year has encouraged Republicans to vote for leadership proposals, such as the American Health Care Act, which recently passed the House by just two votes.

The AAN tax filing also will show that it provided $2.4 million in grants to two conservative groups: Main Street Advocacy and Ending Spending. Ending Spending recently spent big on Republican Karen Handel in the open primary to pick nominees for the special House election in Georgia’s 6th district.

Handel, facing Democrat Jon Ossoff, is favored to win a June 20 runoff.