Senior White House Aides Plot Multi-Million-Dollar Campaign for Tax Reform
Senior White House officials huddled on Monday evening with the leaders of an administration-backed political group to begin mapping out a multimillion-dollar campaign to sell tax reform.
With President Donald Trump set to meet with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, the push is taking on greater intensity. Those involved in Monday’s gathering included Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers. Also present were Brian Walsh, Brad Parscale, Katie Walsh, and Corey Lewandowski — all top strategists for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies.
During the course of the hour-long meeting, top officials with America First Policies signaled plans to wage an aggressive effort to push tax reform, according to four people with knowledge of the discussion. The group told the White House it was planning to spend in the millions.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the talks.
The meeting comes at a sensitive time for the administration. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has launched a nationwide campaign to oust Senate Republicans in next year’s midterms. While some conservative activists are cheering Bannon, some close to the White House worry that the anti-incumbent bid could undercut Trump’s efforts to win legislative support for the tax overhaul.
Several people familiar with Monday’s meeting said the purpose was for America First Policies to reassert its standing as the main pro-Trump outside vehicle. Top officials with the organization told Kushner and Ayers they wanted to complement the administration’s efforts on tax reform, not undermine it.
America First Policies and its allied super PAC, America First Action, have raised around $25 million over the course of the year. While the two groups have been relatively quiet, they are expected to play a more visible role in the months to come.
On Tuesday, a group of donors to America First Action will convene at the Texas ranch owned by oilman T. Boone Pickens for an update on the group’s plans. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and Brian Walsh, America First Action’s president, will deliver presentations. The super PAC is expected to play a key role in a number of 2018 races.
With the midterm season on the horizon, the organization is expanding its fundraising reach. It has recruited several high dollar donors, including energy executive Harold Hamm and Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym executive Robert Rowling.