An individual donor can give no more than $5,400 to a presidential campaign. Individuals and corporations can give unlimited sums to super PACs, and their names are publicly reported. But with the new Right to Rise group, individuals and corporations can give as much as they want while remaining anonymous.
Election-law experts predict that the creation of the Bush-allied nonprofit will prompt other 2016 contenders to adopt the strategy, injecting more secret money into the political process.
“If it looks like a good idea, others are going to copy it in short order,” said Kenneth Gross, a Washington campaign finance lawyer and former associate general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.
Supporters of stricter enforcement of campaign finance rules said the move raises serious legal questions, such as whether the group could later be considered affiliated with the eventual campaign or viewed as an entity established by Bush. But other legal experts said the operation could be designed to avoid those pitfalls.