It’s become increasingly clear, after a midterm miracle, that Joe Biden is running for re-election, document controversy be damned. It’s a momentous decision that has set in motion countless other political dominoes, including the process of designating a super PAC of choice to bundle the donations and distribute the proceeds.
Becoming the anointed super PAC of a sitting president seeking re-election is a crowning achievement in political donor circles—there are millions and millions in fees to be made, after all. And as my colleague Teddy Schleifer and I first reported back in October, it seemed a tectonic changing of the guard was in store. Future Forward, the newish group backed heavily by Silicon Valley, appeared to be outpacing Priorities USA, the venerable Obama/Clinton-era PAC, which some in Biden’s inner circle believe is past its prime. The dynamic seemed to evidence the manifest destiny of Democratic fundraising, from D.C. to California, and of the desire among certain Washington insiders to make their mark on a more nimble operation. It also bore the fingerprints of Anita Dunn, Biden’s Zelig-like aide who has done consulting for the PAC in the past. (A source close to Bidenworld disputed that Dunn or White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, who is close to Priorities founder Guy Cecil, have charted out their preferred PACs.)
Since then, however, Future Forward has been tainted by its association with alleged ponzi-schemer Sam Bankman-Fried, who has given millions of dollars to the PAC. Other major political groups, including the House Majority PAC, the D.N.C., the D.C.C.C., the D.S.C.C., and the Senate Majority PAC, have all said they plan to return S.B.F.’s money. But Future Forward had not said publicly what it intends to do with the more than $10 million it accepted from S.B.F. and his businesses during the last presidential cycle, plus the nearly $2 million S.B.F. donated during the midterms.