John Bolton forms super PAC

Former U.N. ambassador also creates traditional political committee to press foreign policy agenda

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John Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador under President George W. Bush and a leading conservative voice on foreign policy issues, will lead a pair of newly formed political action committees, including a super PAC, two Bolton associates confirm to the Center for Public Integrity.

"The goal for the committees is restoring national security issues to their proper place on the political agenda," said Mark Groombridge, a long-time Bolton adviser.

Highlighting national security issues and U.S. policy in Asia and the Middle East will rank among the PACs' priorities, Groombridge said.

He added that the PACs' structure, staffing and fundraising goals haven't yet been formalized, and there's no timetable yet on when they'll enter the political fray — or how. 

"Those are details that are being worked out," Groombridge said. "For now, we just wanted to get the names registered."

Kelley Rogers, president of Virginia-based Strategic Campaign Group, which filed the committees' federal organizational paperwork, tells the Center: "We will have an announcement in a few weeks as to both entities."  

One committee is named Bolton for America PAC and is organized as a traditional political action committee, which may raise limited amounts of money and in turn donate limited amounts to political candidates and party committees, according to Federal Election Commission filings made public today.

The other, Bolton for America Super PAC, is also organized as a traditional PAC, although its establishment as such appears to be an easily corrected paperwork error.

Super PACs — technically known as independent expenditure-only committees — may raise unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against political candidates, but may not donate directly to them.

The treasurer for both PACs is Scott Mackenzie, who serves as treasurer for numerous conservative political committees.

Bolton, a lawyer and State Department assistant secretary and undersecretary, currently works as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is a frequent commentator on news talk shows as well as author of numerous foreign-policy opinion and analysis pieces is various print and online publications.

Most recently, Bolton made headlines late last year after criticizing then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a "diplomatic illness" after canceling her testimony before Congress on the killing in Benghazi, Libya, of the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Clinton had sustained a concussion after taking a fall.