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Secret Republican group budgeted millions for media and influential events

Secret Republican group budgeted millions for media and influential events

According to a recent report in The New York Times, a new group of affluent conservatives is planning to reform the American right by investing more than $30 million in new legal, policy and media ventures, including "programs to influence". Are included. are included.

The alliance, known as The Rockbridge Network, features prominent conservative billionaires such as Peter Thiel and Rebekah Mercer. The network aims to "disrupt but advance the Republican agenda" with its new policy and media programs. According to a network brochure obtained by the Times, "The Rockbridge Network will transform the current Republican ecosystem" with activist and media organizations with "better action-oriented, more effective people and institutions".

The brochure does not reveal details of these new media ventures, but sets a working budget of $8 million for 2021. Named initiatives include "public relations and messaging, a quick-response communications team for conservative activists and leaders, funding for voting, sponsorship, specific coverage and impact programs for area cultural impact and renewal, investigative journalism, documentaries, and others." " Projects.

Members of the Rockbridge Network met this week at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in private meetings and a closed-door Trump address, the Times reports. The meeting is taking place at a time when Republicans are planning their strategy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

The brochure's focus on "influencer programs" follows a year of massive spending by the Trump wing of the Republican Party on similar initiatives. Last December, Trump's "Make America Great Again PAC" paid more than $50,000 to influencer marketing firm Legendary Campaign, according to FEC records. Additionally, the National Republican Senate Committee paid a similar amount for "advertising" the firm.

Trump's team has previously enlisted Legendary Campaigns, a "partner organization" for the Urban Legend Company, for online advertising. The company, run by former Trump White House digital official Ori Rinat, reportedly pays popular conservative influencers "fees in exchange for driving engagement — such as email signups, donations and purchases — to the firm's clients," Axios reported last year. Was. did.

During the 2020 election cycle, platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter dramatically changed the way political campaigns are advertised on their platforms. Twitter banned political ads altogether, while Facebook and Google began to require more detailed disclosures from political buyers. This prompted an influx of new money into firms such as Legendary Campaigns for advertising partnerships with content creators.

In December, The Verge detailed the latest efforts by conservative college group Turning Point USA to engage influential people in the movement. At the time, TPUSA touted more than 400 "ambassadors," and its 2021 investor prospectus budgeted more than $7 million for the organization's media arm.

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