By Eliza Keefe
Political leanings: Conservative
2020 total spending: N/A
American Dream Federal Action is a hybrid PAC with a mission to back “forward-looking” Republicans who will “protect America’s long term economic and national security by advancing smart policy decisions now,” its website says.
As a hybrid PAC, or “Carey committee,” the group can function both as a super PAC, raising unlimited funds for independent expenditures, and as a traditional PAC, giving money to candidates directly. It is required to use distinct bank accounts for each purpose.
The group, which was formed under a different name in March and then changed its name in April, must report its independent expenditures and donors to the Federal Election Commission.
American Dream Federal Action says it prioritizes pandemic preparedness. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, the group’s founder, Ryan Salame, stated, “Living through and going through COVID, it became abundantly clear that we’re not prepared for pandemics.”
“It’s really important — and it’s one of the best things that we can do for future generations to ensure that we are prepared for them,” Salame continued.
The group hopes to achieve this mission by “leveraging America’s technological edge and best scientific minds to forecast future national challenges and craft public policy solutions to address those challenges now.”
Salame works with billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, who is the primary funder of Protect Our Future PAC, a group that also emphasizes pandemic preparedness but instead backs Democratic candidates in House races. Salame is a co-CEO of FTX Digital Asset Markets, a subsidiary of Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. He previously worked for Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried.
Before founding American Dream Federal Action, Salame donated $1.5 million to GMI PAC — a super PAC that supports both Republicans and Democrats “who work to give US-based innovators the opportunity to build next-generation technologies and services here in America rather than doing that valuable work overseas.”
As of Aug. 31, Salame has been American Dream Federal Action’s sole individual funder. The group has raised slightly over $15 million, all from its founder.
“Being relatively new to this, I wasn’t quite sure the amount it would take to have a real impact. At the onset, I wanted to keep it under $25 million,” Salame told the Washington Examiner. “There’s not an exact science. We look at candidates holistically, look at what they’ve said previously about pandemics, see if there’s any history, and then move forward with candidates in that fashion.”
Thus far, American Dream Federal Action has spent about $12.6 million in independent expenditures, entirely in support of 15 Republican candidates in House and Senate races. The group has not made any direct contributions via its traditional PAC arm.
Only two of these candidates, Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Matt Mowers of New Hampshire, did not advance to the general election.
American Dream Federal Action spent $2.4 million in support of Davis, who introduced the Pandemic Rapid Response Act in April 2020. The bill, which did not become law, would have created a “bipartisan commission to analyze our nation’s response [to the COVID-19 pandemic] and make recommendations to better prepare our country for any future pandemic.”
Davis lost in the state’s newly redrawn 15th Congressional District to Rep. Mary Miller in June. Illinois lost one seat in Congress after the 2020 U.S. Census, forcing two incumbents to vie for one seat.
In May 2021, Davis was one of 35 Republicans who voted to form an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The vote became an issue in the campaign. Miller, who won Trump’s endorsement, did not vote for the commission and claimed Davis “stabbed President Trump in the back by voting for the sham” commission.
The hybrid PAC also made headlines this fall for collectively spending about $3 million to support three Republicans — Katie Britt of Alabama and Bo Hines and Rep. Ted Budd, both of North Carolina — who were endorsed by Trump and have spoken out against COVID-19 restrictions in the past.
The group spent nearly $2 million to help Britt win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Alabama. Britt, a former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, supported COVID-19 vaccinations, but opposed government restrictions, such as mask mandates and government-imposed lockdowns.
American Dream Federal Action plans to participate in the general election but to a lesser extent than it did in the primary.