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Pro-Trump Super PAC Shutting Down, Returning Donations

Image: Pro-Trump Super PAC Shutting Down, Returning Donations

By    |   Friday, 23 Oct 2015 07:44 AM

The Make America Great super PAC, formed to back Donald Trump's GOP presidential campaign, is shutting down, with the Republican operative who launched it saying he's pulling the plug to honor the front-runner's wishes.

"Mr. Trump has said he doesn't have a super PAC," Colorado operative Mike Ciletti, who formed the group, told Politico on Thursday. "So to honor his wishes, I'm shutting my organization down."

Trump, a New York billionaire, has made refusing donations from other wealthy people a centerpiece of his campaign, and has never officially blessed Ciletti's super PAC or any of the other groups that say they're raising money for him.

Trump did attend a fundraiser the group held in New York in July, speaking for 10 to 15 minutes at a private residence in Manhattan, where about 200 people were in attendance.

The super PAC came under fire this week after The Washington Post reported that it obtained a Sept. 1 email written by Ciletti to a GOP donor that suggested he was soliciting donations using contact information obtained from Rhona Graff, a top Trump aide.

Ciletti would not tell Politico how much the super PAC had raised in the past four months, or if Trump or anyone else asked him to shut down the organization. He said he will refund contributions after vendors involved in voter targeting, advertising, and other services are paid.

Super PACS are able to raise unlimited contributions, and the Make America Great group had been soliciting donations from several people close to Trump, including the parents of his son-in-law.

Republican strategists, though, told The New York Times that the news about the super PAC and the decision to shut it down will likely not affect his powerful campaign.

"Having a super PAC or engaging in any other particular political hypocrisy does not hurt Trump," Alex Castellanos, who advised Mitt Romney in 2008, commented. "GOP voters want him to do whatever it takes to blow up the establishment so his 'moral flexibility,' at this point, is an asset."

On Thursday, after Ciletti said his super PAC was closing, the Trump campaign issued a press release saying his lawyer has informed nine outside groups that were created to support him that they were not authorized, and that they should return the funds they collected, reports the Times.

"The campaign has never received money from your PAC, nor does the campaign want any money, services or goods from your committee," the letter said.

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The Make America Great super PAC, formed to back Donald Trump's GOP presidential campaign, is shutting down, with the Republican operative who launched it saying he's pulling the plug to honor the front-runner's wishes.
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Friday, 23 Oct 2015 07:44 AM
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