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New Super PACs Backing Cruz Expect $31 Million First-Week Haul

A quartet of super PACs is coming to the aid of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as he embarks on his 2016 presidential campaign, and they expect to raise a whopping $31 million during their first week.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

A quartet of super PACs is coming to the aid of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as he embarks on his 2016 presidential campaign, and they expect to raise a whopping $31 million during their first week. 

The haul — which isn't legally required to be disclosed until July — is a staggering amount even by the sky-high expectations for the cost of the 2016 presidential race. The PACs, all titled with some variation of "Keep the Promise," can raise unlimited amounts of money in pursuit of putting Cruz in the White House. 

The treasurer for three of the four PACs is Dathan Voelter, an Austin lawyer, longtime Cruz supporter and former president of the Texas Lyceum. In a filing with the Federal Election Commission, the treasurer for the fourth PAC is listed as Jacquelyn James of Port Jefferson Station, New York. 

Voelter said Wednesday that the PACs — whose backers are described as "close, personal friends and strong supporters" of Cruz — are "just getting started."

"Our goal is to guarantee Senator Cruz can compete against any candidate," Voelter said in a news release. "Keep the Promise can provide the 'appropriate air cover' in the battle against Senator Cruz's opponents in the Washington establishment and on the political left."

The names of the PACs are "Keep the Promise PAC," "Keep the Promise I," "Keep the Promise II" and "Keep the Promise III." In a letter to the FEC dated Monday, Voelter wrote that the committees are "affiliated with one another for legal and regulatory purposes." 

The four-pronged network could allow individual donors to have more authority than usual over the committees' activities. After losing the presidential race in 2012, some Republicans have complained outside groups were not giving donors the best bang for their buck.

Hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer is among those already ponying up for the web of super PACs, according to National Review, which reported Wednesday that the Mercers "control" one of the four committees. James, the treasurer for "Keep the Promise I," works at a law firm tied to the Mercer Family Foundation in tax documents. She did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The formation of the pro-Cruz PACs and the $31 million figure were first reported by Bloomberg Politics.

Before this week, Cruz already had a super PAC supporting his 2016 bid. Stand for Principle PAC was set up last year by Georgia-based lobbyist Maria Zack and is helmed by David Panton, Cruz’s college roommate. It had $146,410 cash on hand by the end of last year, according to its latest FEC filing

"It’s great to see so many Americans are willing to step up, work hard and raise significant early money to elect Senator Ted Cruz as President," Zack said in a statement Wednesday.

Cruz's campaign has worked hard to show he has the fundraising prowess for what is expected to be the most expensive presidential race in U.S. history. The campaign announced it raised $2 million in its first three days and $4 million in its first eight days, most of the money coming from small-dollar donors in Texas and elsewhere. After becoming the first major candidate to announce he was running for president last month, Cruz set out on a 10-city fundraising tour to collect checks from some of the deeper-pocketed givers in the GOP. 

There are no limits on the amount of money super PACs can rake in, as opposed to official campaign committees, which can only take $2,700 from individuals per election cycle. The campaign will first disclose its finances later this month while the super PACs do not have to make such disclosures until July.

Cruz is not the only candidate connected to Texas with a super PAC backing his presidential ambitions. Last month, allies of former Gov. Rick Perry launched the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, and Perry has been crisscrossing the Lone Star State shaking the money tree for the group. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also has swung through Texas to fill the coffers of his Right to Rise super PAC, most recently with the help of his brother and father — both former presidents. Unlike Cruz, Bush and Perry are not yet official candidates and will have to take some steps to disassociate themselves from their super PACs if they take the plunge.

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Politics 2016 elections Ted Cruz