A political action committee created to recruit Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to a third party presidential ticket committed to reveal its donors Wednesday and called on its critics to do the same.
The two-week old “Draft Romney Manchin Committee” based in Boston said Americans deserved a transparent understanding of “all groups that oppose a bipartisan centrist ticket.”
“Voters deserve to know who is bankrolling efforts to limit their choices in November 2024 to Biden and Trump,” Committee Chair Jennifer Franks said in the statement.
The PAC seeks to build support — through petitions, fundraising and polling — for a Romney-Manchin “unity ticket” to challenge the two major parties’ front-runners in the 2024 presidential election.
By demonstrating a path to victory for the novel third-party bid, the Draft Romney/Manchin Committee hopes to persuade delegates to back Romney as the nominee for president, and Manchin as his vice president, at the March convention of No Labels — a nonprofit behind the effort to gain ballot access in all 50 states as an “insurance policy” to prevent a 2nd Trump term.
However, No Labels and the Draft Romney/Manchin Committee — which has no formal ties to either senator or No Labels — have received heavy criticism from the D.C. political establishment, and Romney himself, for moving forward with a plan that could spoil the 2024 election for Trump.
A third-party presidential bid is something Romney has already thoroughly considered and rejected, according to the book “Romney: A Reckoning,” by McKay Coppins. After realizing an independent run in 2020 could ensure a Trump victory, Romney discussed with Manchin building a new political party to endorse centrist candidates — a concept Romney still has not discarded, Coppins reported.
Romney and Manchin both recently announced they would not be seeking reelection in 2024, leaving open the possibility of alternative political involvement and leading to speculation about plans for collaboration between the pair of bipartisan heavyweights.
In Wednesday’s statement, the Draft Romney/Manchin Committee pledged to make its donors public at some future date and requested the disclosure of Form 990 tax returns from over 20 nonprofits, including Bill Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together and the Democratic research group American Bridge, who have publicly criticized No Labels as misguided or self-interested.
The Draft Romney/Manchin Committee will disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission monthly and for year-end in 2023 and monthly or quarterly in 2024, Franks told the Deseret News Wednesday.