When Mike Pompeo announced his political action committee last June, he set off a wave of news stories heralding the move as a potential step toward a 2024 presidential campaign. But the former secretary of State kept his next big launch behind the scenes.
Two months later, Pompeo allies including Ulrich Brechbuhl, a close friend,West Point classmate and former State Department official, quietly formed a nonprofit group — Champion American Values Fund — to work alongside Pompeo’s Champion American Values PAC. According to corporate records from Delaware and Virginia, Brechbuhl serves as president of the organization, which can raise and spend unlimited funds without disclosing its donors — an increasingly popular feature for politicians eyeing the White House.
At least a dozen potential candidates for president in 2024 have active nonprofit groups aligned with them, according to a review of corporate filings, campaign disclosures and financial records obtained by POLITICO. Some of them, like the nonprofits affiliated with Pompeo or Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), have never been publicly revealed before. Others, like those supporting President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, have been operating in the open for years.
What they all have in common is the ability to pay staffers, fund polling and policy research, run ads and accept money from megadonors without divulging those funders’ names — or much information about any spending until many months after the fact. It’s the latest escalation in a fundraising arms race that has seen personal benefactors, super PACs and now secret money become common building blocks of presidential campaigns.