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Wealthy GOP donors are forming secret coalitions to wield more influence


A “legal and strategic litigation” effort with an expected cost of $3.75 million aims to use the courts “to hold bad actors, including the media, accountable.” A “transitional project”, with an estimated price tag of $3 million, aims to bring together policy experts and plans to create a “government-in-waiting” to “staff the next Republican administration”.

A “red state project” aims to emulate a model pioneered by the left in which strategists coordinate the efforts of a range of movement groups to complement each other and avoid overlap. Its cost is estimated at $6-8 million per state and is initially focused on the swing states of Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan.

A person familiar with Rockbridge described these projects and their fundraising goals as ambitious, and said the coalition had so far focused on allocating donor funds to pre-existing groups to achieve its goals, rather than creating new ones.

The person said the coalition had tested some of its plans, including a voter registration initiative last year in Arizona that is identified in the brochure as a case study.

Arizona was the site of the first Rockbridge summit, held last year. It featured a speech by Mr. Thiel, the billionaire tech investor. He and Ms. Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund mogul Robert Mercer, were among Mr. Trump’s biggest donors in 2016 and worked closely together on his presidential transition team.

Since then, Mr. Thiel has become a key kingmaker, backing 16 Senate and House candidates, some of whom were also backed by Ms. Mercer. Many of their candidates have embraced the lie that Mr. Trump won the 2020 election.

One, Blake Masters, a former employee of Mr. Thiel who is running for the Senate in Arizona, spoke at the Rockbridge dinner reception at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday night before Mr. Trump, and could possibly benefit of Rockbridge’s efforts.

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