Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) has filed the paperwork to form a not-for-profit corporation called “Jeb 2016, Inc.” that would provide the structure for his pending presidential campaign.
The Articles of Incorporation for Jeb 2016, Inc. were filed with the Division of Corporations at the Florida Department of State on June 4, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
“Jeb” is not Bush’s actual legal name, being a nickname drawn from his initials: John Ellis Bush. He has historically used just his nickname in political campaigns; bumper stickers with “Jeb!” were a common sight in Florida during his two gubernatorial campaigns. His decision to continue using his nickname, and leave his last name off the official campaign committee may also reflect a desire to forge a path separate from the two previous Presidents Bush in his family, his father George H.W. Bush, and brother George W. Bush.
Two key clues within the paperwork filed with the state make it clear that this will be the official campaign entity for Bush.
First, Raquel Rodriguez, a Miami attorney who has provided legal counsel for Bush for years, is listed on the official paperwork as the entity’s registered agent. A longtime confidante and adviser for Bush, she would not be involved in filing this kind of paperwork without his express knowledge and permission.
Second, the Articles of Incorporation for Jeb 2016, Inc., embedded at the end of this article, state under “Purpose” the following language:
The purposes for which the Corporation is organized are (1) to promote the candidacy of Jeb Bush for the office of President of the United States; and (2) in doing so, to engage in any lawful act or activity permitted under the Act, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “IRC”), and the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (“FECA”). The Corporation shall be organized and operate as a political organization within the meaning of IRC Section 527 and a principal campaign committee under FECA.
A “principal campaign committee” is the entity that the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) requires all federal candidates to create and designate by filing a “Statement of Candidacy” within 15 days of officially becoming a candidate. (See, FEC Candidate Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees, page 5).
The paperwork to designate Jeb 2016, Inc. as the principal campaign committee for Bush has not yet been filed with the FEC, according to a search of the FEC’s online records performed by Breitbart News on Tuesday afternoon.
Bush is expected to announce he is running for president on June 15 in Miami, Florida. The soon-to-be campaign made headlines this week when it was announced that Danny Diaz had been tapped as campaign manager, an eleventh-hour switch from David Kochel, an experienced Iowa operative and former adviser to Mitt Romney.
Months ago, Bush formed several Super PACs that have been supporting his travel and laying the groundwork for his pending candidacy. These PACs have raised a purported $100 million, a figure that has raised many eyebrows in the campaign finance world. Breitbart News previously interviewed several campaign finance law experts who said that they believed that Bush’s unprecedented fundraising for his PACs — far more than the “testing the waters” type of fundraising condoned by the FEC’s rules — and plans to outsource major campaign functions to the PACs appeared to be a violation of federal campaign finance laws.
Once Bush officially throws his hat in the ring, he will only be able to communicate directly with his principal campaign committee, and will be restricted in how much he suggests that supporters donate to his PACs. (In short, the PACs can still take in unlimited donations, but Bush cannot ask for that, instead being limited to the federal contribution limit). Bush will, however, be free to solicit new donations from the deep-pocketed donors who filled the coffers of his PACs, to donate again to his campaign committee.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.