Several top Republicans are launching what they call a “think-and-do tank” that will focus on conservative economics and business issues and will openly advocate for political candidates, the New York Times is reporting.
At the forefront of the new American Action Network are former senator Norm Coleman and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a policy adviser for John McCain and a frequent face of the McCain presidential campaign on television.
A press conference announcing the new group is planned for Feb. 22.
Leaders of the effort told the Times AAN will be modeled on the six-year-old liberal Center for American Progress (which, as we recall, was modeled on right-wing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation).
One difference from CAP is that AAN plans to take advantage of the Citizens United decision to take unlimited donations from corporations and use the money to advertise for or against candidates.
The Times explains how the new group will be structured:
[T]he tax-exempt American Action Network will be divided into separate units. The Action Forum, which will be the policy arm, is a 501(c)3 group, named for the tax code provision for charitable groups; it allows contributions to be tax deductible but restricts political activities.
The Action Network, which will advocate for policies and candidates, is a 501(c)4 organization. Contributions are not tax deductible, and the group can advocate for political causes.