John Bolton’s political-action committees are pulling in big bucks. Together, the former United Nations ambassador’s groups, a PAC and a super PAC that will back candidates who share Bolton’s belief in a muscular foreign policy, raised nearly $2 million since their launch in November, sources say. They will file a report with the Federal Election Commission later today.
The haul includes an impressive $1.1 million raised in the first quarter of 2014. As of Tuesday, the PAC had $318,000 cash on hand and the super PAC had over $1.1 million cash on hand. Though a good portion of the money came from top-dollar donors — Home Depot cofounder Bernie Marcus and conservative philanthropist Roger Hertog among them — over 7,000 small-dollar donors also contributed online and via direct mail. The group also boasts backers in all 50 states.
“We are very pleased with our results both in the first quarter and since we started,” Bolton tells National Review Online. “The grassroots support and the number of contributors in the early days prove two things: First, Americans care strongly about our country’s national security and second, they are deeply concerned about the harm caused to that security over the last five years. Our results demonstrate that candidates supporting a strong America will have the people behind them.”
Bolton’s effort is symptomatic of a larger pushback within the Republican party against the war-weariness left over from the Bush years and an increasing skepticism of foreign entanglements among some of the party’s most outspoken politicians. In North Carolina, for example, the hawkish Emergency Committee for Israel is spending money to unseat Republican congressman Walter Jones, who has opposed increasing America’s presence in Afghanistan and strengthening sanctions against Iran.
Bolton said when he launched the initiative last November that he intended to test the hypothesis of many in the political class that “Americans don’t care about foreign policy.”
“I don’t believe that,” he said at the time. “I think it’s the political operatives who are wrong.”