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Levine writes: "If President Donald Trump taps John Bolton as his next national security adviser, the former U.N. ambassador will be forced to reckon with the fate of his political empire, which includes a super PAC that has spent heavily on the services of embattled voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica."

Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Saturday, February 20, 2010. (photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)
Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Saturday, February 20, 2010. (photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)

John Bolton - Eyed for Trump Post - Leads Super PAC That Employed Cambridge Analytica

By Carrie Levine, The Center for Public Integrity

22 March 18

Embattled data firm earned more than $1.1 million from Bolton’s political operation

f President Donald Trump taps John Bolton as his next national security adviser, the former U.N. ambassador will be forced to reckon with the fate of his political empire, which includes a super PAC that has spent heavily on the services of embattled voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica.

Bolton’s super PAC has paid Cambridge Analytica more than $1.1 million since 2014 for “research” and “survey research,” a Center for Public Integrity analysis of campaign finance filings shows.

So far during the 2018 election season, Bolton has announced his super PAC will spend $1 million boosting Republican Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson in Wisconsin. Nicholson is challenging incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat.

Bolton’s super PAC spent roughly $2.5 million during the 2016 election cycle to support the bids of Republican U.S. Senate candidates, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The press release announcing support for Nicholson said that “Ambassador Bolton looks to increase those contributions for the 2018 midterm elections.”

Bolton — eyed to replace Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser should McMaster step down or be fired — would be the latest in a string of Trump administration insiders with strong links to big-spending, conservative political groups largely funded by an elite group of megadonors. It’s a list that includes Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president; White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short; and Nick Ayers, the vice president’s chief of staff.

Bolton, who visited the White House last week, would also be the latest Trump official with ties to GOP megadonor Robert Mercer, a key supporter of Trump’s presidential bid and investor in Cambridge Analytica who is also the largest donor to Bolton’s super PAC.

“All of this makes clear that the Supreme Court was wrong in Citizens United when it unleashed big money in our elections with the promise it would be independent of candidates and office holders,” said Paul Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at the nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause.

Bolton’s super PAC was among the first political committees to report paying Cambridge Analytica, the voter profiling company in which Mercer is an investor.

Last week, the New York Times and The Observer of London jointly reported that Cambridge Analytica had misused data gleaned from the profiles of tens of millions of Facebook users.

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, citing concerns that it had failed to delete improperly obtained data. Cambridge Analytica said the data was improperly obtained by a contractor and has been deleted. It also said none of that data “was used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign.”

But the statement did not specifically address whether the data was used to provide services to other political committees that retained Cambridge Analytica, including Bolton’s super PAC.

In a related matter, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, in December asked Cambridge Analytica to turn over emails of any employees who worked on Trump’s presidential campaign.

Cambridge Analytica did not respond to questions from the Center for Public Integrity. Bolton did not respond to an interview request submitted through his PAC, or to questions regarding whether he was investigating whether Cambridge Analytica used improperly obtained data in its work for his super PAC.

As of Feb. 28, Bolton’s two political groups — the John Bolton Super PAC and John Bolton PAC — reported $3.6 million in combined cash on hand, with roughly $3 million of that amount in the super PAC’s coffers, according to disclosures filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Super PACs may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against political candidates.

Much of the super PAC’s money has come from a handful of political megadonors, and the group has supported candidates also favored by its benefactors.

Mercer has given $5 million to Bolton’s super PAC since 2013. He was the Bolton super PAC’s largest donor during the 2016 election cycle, and so far, is also the largest donor for the 2018 election cycle, an analysis of federal campaign finance filings show. Mercer has also financially backed Cambridge Analytica.

Eight federal political committees that have received contributions from Mercer or his daughter, Rebekah, have reported paying Cambridge Analytica in the past, including Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential committee and the North Carolina Republican Party. None, including John Bolton Super PAC, have yet reported paying the company during the 2018 election cycle.

Bolton created the political action committee and super PAC that bear his name in 2013. During the past three election cycles, the super PAC poured six- and seven-figure sums into the bids of Republican politicians such as Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Tills and Cotton’s campaigns have also reported paying Cambridge Analytica.

Mercer is by far the Bolton super PAC’s biggest donor, but it has also drawn money from a small pool of other Republican megadonors, including shipping supplies CEO RIchard Uihlein, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, private equity magnate John W. Childs and real estate developer Geoff Palmer.

Bolton’s foreign policy views have been controversial, with detractors citing his willingness to use military intervention. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first,” he argued in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last month.

The position of national security adviser doesn’t generally require Senate confirmation (although McMaster faced a Senate vote in order to keep his military rank while serving in the Trump White House.)

Therefore, it’s unlikely Tillis, Cotton, Burr and other senators Bolton has financially supported would be put in a position to vote on Bolton were Trump to select him as national security adviser. Bolton could, however, face a confirmation hearing were Trump to tap him for another administration post. your social media marketing partner


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+7 # dbrize 2018-03-22 14:43
It was antiwar nuclear weapons physicist Gordon Prather, who knew his way around DC pretty well, who reputedly hung the sobriquet "Bonkers" in front of Bolton.

This was early in the Bush years when Bolton was busy ingratiating himself with Darth Cheney. "Kiss up, kick down" was the descriptive phrase regarding Boltons mobility.

That he is a survivor is testimony to the difficulties inherent in innoculating against neocon swamp creatures.

That the "Bonkers" appellation remains, strengthened by his performance since its acquisition, should give pause to one and all, toward the difficulties that lie ahead.
+5 # librarian1984 2018-03-22 18:30
He's gotten the post, replacing McMaster. He is bad news. As bad as Victoria Nuland.
+3 # dbrize 2018-03-22 21:13
Quoting librarian1984:
He's gotten the post, replacing McMaster. He is bad news. As bad as Victoria Nuland.

Yes indeed. You highlight the conundrum. We can at minimum take solace in the position that confirmed neocon or confirmed neolib, we are in the same boat.

Justin Raimondo, who is a beacon of antiwar, anti-national security state sentiment, has insisted that Trump is putting his enemies in positions where he has his thumb on them. His position has been ridiculed even by his many supporters as myopic wishful thinking.

I guess we can only hope he is right. I consider the Iran deal a litmus test.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-23 04:36
I'd say he is a lot worse than Nuland. Bolton is very hawkish about Syria. He wants direct US intervention. He is as bad as Hillary with regard to Syria. Russia has said it will not allow the US to invade Syria. A very dangerous conflict may be about to begin. I think Trump is just too ignorant of all these issues to make Bolton forget about his long held desires to smash all of the Arab nations that are not subservient to Israel and the Us. In the campaign, Trump was strongly against people like Bolton. Now he's surrendered to them.
+3 # Benign Observer 2018-03-23 10:23
Nuland isn't exactly a dove, just ask the Ukrainians.

I agree Trump seems content to remain ignorant of most matters and Bolton may well take advantage of that.

I've heard that he didn't like McMaster lecturing him, so he may love Bolton's rants -- but also heard he hates the moustache.

I bet Bolton is the only one willing to jump on board the leaky ship. Will he shave if it means he can wage war? Probably.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-22 21:06
Bolton is probably the last straw for Trump. He's scraped the bottom of the barrel and this is what was left. There's no lower he can go.

It is strange. Trump has been adding FOX news regulars to his white house. Joe Di Genova and Bolton are both favorites on FOX -- or at least that is what I hear. Trump simply seems to be out of friends.

Bolton is a war mongering neo-con. The neo-cons have now totally taken control of Trump. His congratulation call to Putin will be his last.

Bolton is a real red flag. This should help democrats a great deal in the 2018 congressional races. People will vote just to vote against Bolton.

I wonder if a democratic majority in the house would introduce a bill of impeachment. It does not seem like Pelosi's style. She sure as hell protected GW Bush.
+2 # Working Class 2018-03-23 09:44
Rodion: I know we don't always see 'eye-to-eye" on certain issues but I am sincerely interested on your take of why the Mercer name keeps coming up. The old follow the money keeps coming to my mind.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-23 13:23
Working -- i don't know much about the Mercers. They seem to have gotten interested in political fixing pretty recently, unlike the Kochs who have been in it for 60 years, if you include daddy Koch who was one of the main funders of the John Birch Society. I don't know the details of the Mercers. they are a right wing billionaire hedge fund family who provided a lot of money to Trump and bought part interest in Cambridge Analytics.

I'm not just not well read on them. Too many hedge fund billionaires to keep track of.
+1 # Working Class 2018-03-24 11:11
I suggest you read up on the Mercers. They may not be as well known as the Kochs, but they are just as determined to undermine the democratic process and promote their agenda. They are the money behind Breibart, they were the money behind the book "Clinton Cash", Kelly Ann Conway and Steve Bannon have both been on their payroll, they are major owners of Cambridge Analytica. They are a great example of why the Supreme Court's decision is say money is speech is so very anti-democracy.
+3 # Benign Observer 2018-03-23 10:27
"there's no lower he can go"

Oh, don't tempt fate! What about Sarah Palin or Tom Cotton. Equally ignorant. Or Lindsey Graham or Ann Coulter? Equally bellicose.

The Republicans have a deep, deep barrel.

I think Bolton is in that nutty Americans for Securing Democracy/Hamil ton 68 group, so THEY've got their foot in the Oval now.

Lovely. More peachy keen than I can fecking handle.

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