Priorities USA Action

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Priorities USA Action is an independent expenditure PAC that supports the election of certain candidates of the Democratic Party.[1][2] During the 2016 election cycle, Priorities USA has worked to support presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. As of April 2016, the PAC has raised over $55 million and spent over $5 million to support Clinton.[3][4]


The super PAC was founded in 2011 by former Obama campaign officials Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney to raise funds from wealthy donors, including corporations and unions, and support the re-election of President Barack Obama.[5] 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.[6] Harold M. Ickes is the president of the group.[7] The Board of Directors is made up of Guy Cecil, Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Jim Messina, Charles A. Baker III, Allida Black, David Brock, Maria Echaveste, Justin Gray, William P. Hite, Stephanie Schriock, Marva Smalls, Joe Solomonese, Greg Speed, and Randi Weingarten.[7]

Its key backers in 2012 included Paul Begala, Teddy Johnston, Geoff Garin, Ellen Malcolm, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bill Maher, Mary Beth Cahill, and Irwin M. Jacobs.[5]

In 2014, the organization began to focus efforts on raising funds to help Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign.[8] Jim Messina and Jennifer Granholm (former Governor of Michigan) were drafted to serve as co-chairs of the organization.[9]

The group was headed by David Brock from 2014 until his resignation in February 2015.[10]


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.”[11] 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 led 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.”[11] found the ad to be “misleading on several accounts,” including that Soptic’s wife died “five years after the plant closed.”[12] 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.[12]

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