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Dark money group tied to Rubio backers

Rubio had considerable financial support in the presidential race.
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Published Jan. 26, 2018
Updated Jan. 26, 2018

Allies of Marco Rubio's are linked to a dark money group that went after Rubio's opponents, including Donald Trump, in the presidential election.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports on American Future Fund:

AFF reported more than $12.7 million in spending on political advocacy in 2016. During the Republican presidential primaries, observers noted a trend wherein the group would go after Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) opponents, one by one, without ever actually mentioning Rubio.

AFF started by spending $1.5 million against John Kasich (R-Ohio) in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses. It spent another $1.5 million against Ted Cruz (R-Texas) before the New Hampshire primaries.

Then, after AFF hit Donald Trump with a sustained $6.8 million in attack ads over two months, criticizing his involvement in the Trump University fraud lawsuits, Trump hit back, calling it a "Phony Rubio commercial."

Trump ultimately agreed to pay a $25 million settlement in the Trump University cases, so it wasn't "phony." But Trump appears to have been right about the Rubio ties.

Tax documents for a group called Conservative Solutions Project obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics show the group — which was set up by Rubio allies to boost his campaign with money raised from anonymous donors — gave $1 million to AFF.

The CSP grant came after Rubio had dropped out of the presidential race. In the final weeks of the election, however, when Rubio was fighting to keep his Senate seat, AFF spent $2.8 million against his opponent, Patrick Murphy (D-Fla), and Rubio clenched the victory.

Full report here.