At the Family Research Center’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., in September, Donald Trump gave a signature fiery speech to Christian conservative voters.
He waved his Bible in the air, called Marco Rubio a clown and detailed how much he missed seeing the words “Merry Christmas” in stores.
Trump also brought up a few key lines about his independence from big money interest groups, telling the audience:
“I’ve turned down millions and millions of dollars.”
But what the audience may have noticed a little less was the man who introduced him to the stage: David Bossie, the president of Citizens United.
Bossie forged a bond of friendship with Trump when they fundraised for Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where Bossie’s received treatment for a brain aneurysm.
At the Values Voter Summit, Bossie told the crowd that Trump is:
“…a great advocate in Ronald Reagan’s belief that America is an exceptional nation … He knows that the free market is a place where the conservative principles come to life.”
Citizens United is the non-profit group with a Super PAC that took its lawsuit with the Federal Elections Commission to the Supreme Court. In part, the ruling justified political spending by corporations as speech protected by the First Amendment.
They sometimes do business in similar circles, too. Ron Robinson, a director for Citizens United, is also president of the Young America’s Foundation, which has received donations from Charles and David Koch.
According to Bloomberg Politics, Trump has been a critic of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, calling super PACs a:
“…total phony deal,” noting that Jeb Bush’s super-PAC is run by ‘somebody that’s very close to him.’ He said the law ‘forces people into being somewhat dishonest.'”
And, well, there’s this:
I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2015
Trump and Bossie have been linked since the months prior to his presidential announcement when he gave a speech at a Citizens United event. Bossie also defended Trump on the Fox Business Network in August.
Bossie told IJ.com that Citizens United is happy to support Trump:
“If Donald Trump is the nominee we will support him in every possible way.”
Moreover, they’ll be there whether Trump needs them or not:
“Just because he doesn’t need people’s money does not mean he doesn’t need people’s support. So I’m fully expected to help him if he becomes the nominee.”
But when asked if he and Trump have had frank conversations about the Supreme Court decision and Citizens United’s role in facilitating what Trump doesn’t agree with, Bossie was mum:
“To be honest with you I’m not gonna speak for him or what he thinks. It’s not my place.”
Bossie also told IJ.com that the bulk of Citizens United’s current energy is being spent on a second Hillary Clinton film in the works.
The first film, “Hillary: The Movie,” was the source of contention for the Supreme Court case Citizens United filed against the FEC. The sequel, Bossie said, will be released next summer.
The group’s strategy revolves around informing voters about their conservative choices:
“[W]e look at our job, especially early on, to lift up all the conservative candidates we can, to introduce them to conservative activists in early primary and caucus states.”
It’s a strange pairing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump is in cahoots with the big money interests he criticizes.