In June, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, debuted a new 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, the Alliance for a Strong America, to push back against President Obama’s national security policies, which the two hawks believe have “put America on a path of decline.”
In an interview with the Casper Star-Tribune during the group’s rollout, Ms. Cheney said the organization would “release policy papers and host public events on international affairs topics.” She also acknowledged that the group would try to influence elections. “We will abide by the rules of a 501(c)(4), which means a certain percentage of the work we do can be advocacy of candidates,” Ms. Cheney told the newspaper. “But we really have focused on our concern of what is happening from a national security perspective in terms of this president’s policies as well as just making sure that voters are educated.”
A draft 2014 budget that the organization submitted to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office in August describes exactly how the Cheneys plan to focus their efforts this year. The largest line item on the budget is $500,000 for “educational material research and development,” followed by $400,000 expected to be dedicated to “issue advocacy communications,” which may mean political advertisements, especially considering that another $150,000 is planned for “media production.” Despite Ms. Cheney’s suggestion that public events would be a major part of the group’s activities, only $50,000 is planned for events – the same amount the group budgeted for legal services. Another $250,000 was allocated for “management/consulting.”
According to the document, the Cheneys anticipate raising $1.5 million for their group in 2014. The new group’s budget is significantly larger than Ms. Cheney’s previous nonprofit group, which did not involve her father. Before her aborted primary challenge against Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ms. Cheney founded another 501(c)(4) organization aimed at attacking President Obama’s foreign policy, Keep America Safe. Though it generated plenty of controversy, the group’s budget peaked at $535,000 in 2010. That group officially dissolved in 2013 before Ms. Cheney announced her Senate bid, transferring its assets to several charities.
The documents filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office also confirm longtime Cheney aide Kara Ahern will play a central role in the new organization. Ms. Ahern, who managed Ms. Cheney’s senate campaign, is listed as the group’s treasurer on its solicitation license application. Ms. Cheney had previously said that Ms. Ahern, who is also involved with political nonprofits associated with Ms. Cheney’s sister, Mary, would serve as the Alliance’s executive director. It’s not clear yet exactly what the Alliance for a Strong America will do beyond promoting the Cheneys’ criticism of President Obama, but if their proposed budget is any indication, voters should prepare to see the former vice president featured in television ads this year.
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