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Op-Ed: Washington Examiner: ‘America First’ think tank flexing fundraising muscle

July 13, 2021

By Paul Bedard in Washington Examiner

The “America First” think tank behind former President Donald Trump’s social media suit is energizing its fundraising operations to position it at the forefront of influential conservative policy groups.

America First Policy Institute, already home to many former officials that made up the Trump brain trust, today said that it is adding the former Heritage Foundation fundraising director to help it expand and vitalize its operations.

Martin Gillespie will be the organization’s chief development officer. He will focus on major donors and building digital fundraising efforts, said the group.

At Heritage, he was director of donor relations and senior adviser to the president for corporate relations. He also held senior roles in both the House and Senate as well as at the Republican National Committee.

While at Heritage, said AFPI, major gift donations increased by over 60%.

“The America First agenda has inspired millions of our fellow citizens to join and support the conservative movement — many for the first time,” said AFPI President and CEO Brooke Rollins. “We are absolutely thrilled that Martin will lead our AFPI development team. His more than two decades of experience in the movement and background as a development professional will assure we capture the financial support needed to defeat failed liberal policy and put the interests of our fellow Americans and our country above all else,” she added.

The institute is home to several top former Trump aides, advisers, and Cabinet members, including former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and even Trump spiritual adviser Paula White-Cain.

It joined Trump last week when he sued Facebook, Google, and Twitter over their ban of his posts.