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New pro-Trump group pledges to raise $20 million before GOP convention

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

After Donald Trump softened his position on super PACs, a newly formed independent group with notable California ties announced Thursday that it intended to raise $20 million in support of the presumptive GOP nominee before the Republican National Convention in July.

The Committee for American Sovereignty is being led by Doug Watts, a former top aide to unsuccessful presidential candidate Ben Carson. Watts noted that a super PAC supporting Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has already booked more than $90 million in air time in seven battleground states.

“It is clear we need to ramp up major donor fundraising efforts, unify Republicans and take on the Clinton machine,” Watts said in a statement. “We have already begun to raise significant funds in California and from supporters across the country.”

During the GOP primary, Trump blistered his rivals for relying on such groups, but he was nonchalant when asked about them last week.

“I know that people maybe like me and they form a super PAC, but I have nothing to do with it,” Trump said on NBC News. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Former California state Sen. Tony Strickland is among the group’s leaders. Among the Californians on the group’s advisory board are Shawn Steel, the state’s Republican National Committeeman; Frank Visco, a former state GOP chairman; and Marcelino Valdez, a state party official.

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