Priorities USA Action

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Priorities USA Action is an independent expenditure PAC that supported the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012.[1] The super PAC was founded by former Obama campaign officials Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney in order to collect and spend money from wealthy donors, including corporations and unions.[2] As per FEC rules established in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the group is legally prohibited from coordinating with the candidate or his or her campaign. Harold M. Ickes is the president of the group. Its key backers include Paul Begala, Teddy Johnston, Geoff Garin, Ellen Malcolm, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bill Maher, Mary Beth Cahill, and Irwin M. Jacobs.

As of 2014, Jim Messina and Jennifer Granholm (former Governor of Michigan) have been drafted to serve as co-chairs as the organization is now focusing its efforts on helping Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign.[3]

The group was headed by David Brock from 2014 until his resignation in February 2015.[4]


On August 7, 2012 Priorities USA Action put out an ad titled ‘’Understands’’, which “offers one man’s story to suggest the investment practices of Romney and Bain Capital led to the early death of his wife.”[5] The man, Joe Soptic, explains that after the GST Steel plant was shut down, he lost his job and health insurance for him and his family which lead to his wife’s death from cancer. Politifact rated the claim made in the ad false, noting that the ad “uses innuendo for a serious allegation, but there's no proof directly linking the death to Bain.”[5] found the ad to be “misleading on several accounts,” including that Soptic’s wife died “five years after the plant closed.”[6] also points out that, when the plant closed, she had her own employer-sponsored coverage which she lost two years later and, furthermore, that Romney was running the 2002 Winter Olympics when the plant closed.[6]

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