The ad’s sponsor
Trusted Leadership PAC was created in mid-March, when it was launched as the latest addition to a network of pro-Cruz super PACs. Each pro-Cruz super PAC in the network had been named a variant of “Keep the Promise” and is funded by a small group of rich megadonors.
One important distinction: While the Keep the Promise PACs are largely controlled and funded by individual families, Trusted Leadership PAC is actively soliciting contributions from multiple big-dollar donors.
But like the Keep the Promise PACs, the newest pro-Cruz super PAC can raise and spend in unlimited amounts, opening the door for it to rake in massive sums during the Republican primary’s waning months.
Who’s behind it?
The treasurer of Trusted Leadership PAC is Alice Hanley, according to Federal Communication Commission filings.
A former vice president of an investment bank, the Florida-based Hanley is married to oil tycoon and investor Lee Hanley, who in June contributed $5,000 to Keep the Promise I. He also contributed $15,000 to a pro-Fiorina super PAC in March 2015.
Alice Hanley donated $5,400 to Fiorina’s campaign and $2,700 to Cruz’s.
Trusted Leadership PAC is also controlled by organizers from five other pro-Cruz super PACs: four Keep the Promise groups and Stand for Truth Inc., said Kellyanne Conway, head of Keep the Promise I.
“Trusted Leadership harnesses the strength and resources of that broad support to consolidate fundraising efforts and deploy resources strategically,” Conway said in an emailed statement.
Since forming in March, Trusted Leadership PAC has brought in $4.7 million. Together, eight super PACs in the pro-Cruz constellation have raised a whopping $62.4 million through March 31, according to FEC filings.
That’s more than the super PACs supporting any other still-active Republican candidate. Groups supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton have raised $76 million to boost her presidential bid.
Trusted Leadership PAC has so far reported receiving two seven-figure donations, a $1 million contribution from businessman Richard Uihlein and another from Missouri-based Herzog Contracting Corp. The company's owner, Stan Herzog, is a major Republican donor who also gave a seven-figure contribution to a super PAC supporting former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.
Herzog Contracting Corporation, Herzog Railroad Services and Stan Herzog have collectively contributed about $1.5 million to pro-Cruz super PACs. In addition, the Cruz campaign has paid Herzog Contracting Corporation $430,000 for travel expenses, as first reported by Mother Jones.
Trusted Leadership PAC also in late March received $800,000 from Keep the Promise I and $100,000 Stand for Truth.