Mega-Donor Mercer's Daughter Takes Charge of Pro-Trump Group
The daughter of Robert Mercer, one of the country's biggest Republican donors, is now running his pro-Donald Trump political action committee after the group's last two leaders left to join the upper ranks of the campaign.
Rebekah Mercer, who works closely with her father on his charitable and political activities, took charge of the day-to-day operations of the group known as Make America Number 1, according to Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the super-PAC. The previous head of the group, David Bossie, left last week to become Trump's deputy campaign manager.
In a way, the change at the super-PAC is not a big one, since Rebekah Mercer was chairman since its creation last year, and Robert Mercer provided almost all of its funding through the end of July. But it's another sign of the family's commitment to Trump after spending lavishly in the Republican primary on a different candidate, Senator Ted Cruz.
Bossie's departure came soon after two other close political advisers to the Mercer family, Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, were installed at the top of the Trump campaign. Conway ran Mercer's super-PAC before Bossie. CNN reported Rebekah Mercer's expanded role earlier today.
Robert Mercer is the co-chief executive officer of Renaissance Technologies, an East Setauket, New York-based hedge fund firm that uses computers to spot market patterns. Since entering the world of big-money politics in 2010, he's championed anti-establishment Republicans, invested in a political data company, and bought a stake in the populist media outlet Breitbart News, where Bannon was executive chairman.
Earlier this year, Rebekah Mercer worked with Bannon to create "Clinton Cash," a documentary highlighting conflicts of interest between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation and her work as secretary of state -- a line of criticism that Trump is increasingly highlighting in his campaign.
Super-PACs like Make America Number 1 are able to accept donations of unlimited size from individuals and corporations and spend them on political ads, as long as they don't coordinate their activities with the campaigns they support. Trump bragged about his lack of reliance on such groups during the primary.
There are now several super-PACs vying for the big-money donors who want to support Trump. Make America Number 1 focuses on negative messages about Clinton, and hopes to attract donors who want to see her defeated but might not want to pay for ads that explicitly endorse Trump.
The Mercers created the super-PAC in June by re-purposing another group they ran that had $1.3 million in its coffers. Since then, Robert Mercer has given at least $2 million to the reconstituted group.