Former aides to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) changed the name of a recently formed super PAC originally named for the former presidential candidate’s campaign slogan, “A future to believe in,” after Sanders complained about it.
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The super PAC, originally called Future to Believe In PAC, was formed late last month by former aides to Sanders, including Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Sanders’s 2016 presidential bid and a senior adviser to his 2020 run.
Paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Tuesday, however, changed the name of the group to America’s Promise PAC.
Sanders was frustrated with the formation of the super PAC, and its founders changed the name to avoid the appearance that it is tied to the Vermont senator, a former aide confirmed to The Hill.
Sanders’s frustration with the super PAC and its subsequent name change was first reported on Thursday by Vice News.
“We wanted to be as clear as possible that there is no association between the PAC and the senator,” Weaver told Vice News.
Sanders has long railed against the influence of money in politics and the existence of super PACs, groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money but are not allowed to coordinate with a candidate.
But after Sanders suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination last month, a handful of former aides and advisers went to work creating a super PAC to support former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, the party’s presumptive nominee.
It was clear from the beginning, however, that the group did not have Sanders’s blessing. A press release announcing the group’s formation late last month noted that the super PAC, at the time still called Future to Believe In PAC, “is not associated with Bernie 2020 or the senator in any capacity.” And the group does not have access to Sanders’s email list.
A handful of progressives have established super PACs in recent weeks, including Justice Democrats, the group aligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D-N.Y.), which filed paperwork with the FEC earlier this month to form a hybrid political action committee similar to a super PAC.
Likewise, Chuck Rocha, a former senior adviser to Sanders’s presidential campaign who is also involved with America’s Promise PAC, formed Nuestro PAC last month to work on Latino voter turnout efforts. Rocha has said that Nuestro PAC won’t accept donations from corporations or their executives.
The super PACs touch on a soft spot for many progressives, who blame such groups for feeding into what they see as a broken campaign finance system.
Still, Sanders received the backing of Vote Nurses Values PAC during the Democratic presidential primary, though that super PAC is funded by National Nurses United, the largest nurses union, keeping with the senator’s pledge to not accept corporate cash for his campaign.
There has also been some criticism of Our Revolution, a political nonprofit founded by Sanders after his unsuccessful 2016 presidential run. Such nonprofits are often called “dark money” groups because they do not have to disclose their donors.