Politics & Policy

New 527 to Defend Cruz’s Economic Policy in Early States

Cruz campaigns at a gun store in Johnston, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty)

As Ted Cruz continues to surge in the polls — he now sits squarely atop the most recent Iowa survey — his campaign is consolidating support from outside groups intent on seeing him sweep the early-voting states. New to that list is the Lone Star Committee, a Texas 527 group readying itself in anticipation of “a slew of fresh attacks on Cruz thanks to his new top-tier status,” according to a press release announcing its founding.

Spearheaded by a trio of economic buffs, the Lone Star Committee roots its mission in defending Cruz against critics of his economic agenda, particularly his support of the gold standard and flat tax. Those “big ideas . . . separate him from the rest of the field,” said co-founder Rich Danker in the statement, “and we’re going to do everything to make sure voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina know it.”

The group plans to broadcast policy wonks discussing the viability of Cruz’s “pro-growth” agenda, which could make it a more nuanced messaging apparatus than the family of super PACs currently touting Cruz’s candidacy. For co-founder Ben Wetmore, it’s a way to disseminate facts about Cruz’s economic-policy chops without the reams of red tape that would burden a campaign committee or a super PAC. (Unlike campaign committees or super PACs, however, 527s cannot “expressly advocate” for or against a candidate or a party.)

“The voters deserve to have the facts, and we want to give them a clear choice when it comes to fixing the national tragedy of Obamanomics,” Wetmore said.

Cruz has come under fire from the right, in particular for his support of the gold standard — last month, conservative syndicated columnist Michael Barone argued that the notion of a currency defined by gold “had not been a winning issue since the 1920s.” But the idea has enticed certain heretofore-disaffected supporters to his side. New York hedge-fund manager Sean Fieler, whose aggressive push for a return to the gold standard has largely fallen on deaf ears, raved of Cruz’s defense of the policy in the Republican presidential debate in Boulder, calling it “spectacular” and “courageous.”

#share#Danker, Wetmore, and third co-founder Dr. Brian Domitrovic are attempting to capitalize on that sentiment and broaden its appeal across Cruz’s grassroots base. Their group is entering the scene at a prime time, as Cruz’s burgeoning heavyweight status will undoubtedly continue to draw increased scrutiny from fellow top-tier contenders such as Marco Rubio.

As the group makes clear in its press release, it will “accept donations in unlimited amounts” to fight back.

— Elaina Plott is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated since its initial publication.

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