Hillary Clinton-friendly super PAC struggles to raise money: Report

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with parents and child care workers at the Center for New Horizons on May 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson, Getty Images

Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid, is struggling to raise money, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing "people familiar with the matter" who say the group expects to net only $15 million by June 30.

The super PAC, which supported President Obama's reelection bid in 2012 and was essentially inherited by Clinton's campaign, has reportedly only secured $5 million in "hard commitments." The group is undergoing a staff shakeup to try to try to boost its fundraising.

The current executive director of Priorities USA, Buffy Wicks, played a key role in field organizing for President Obama's reelection bid. Wicks is expected to leave the super PAC to take a senior role in Clinton's campaign, though, a Clinton adviser told the Journal. The job of overseeing the group's daily operations has fallen on Guy Cecil, a veteran of Clinton's 2008 campaign.

Cecil was brought onboard, in part, to alleviate concerns among some longtime Clinton backers about giving money to an organization that was previously so closely tied to Mr. Obama, one person close to the group explained. In some corners of the Clinton and Obama camps, apparently, the animosity from 2008 lingers still.

"We always needed a close Clinton person, so her donors knew she cared and was connected. That makes sense," one person familiar with the matter told the Journal.

"They're sending a signal to donors there are no 'Clinton people'; there are no 'Obama people,' another added. "That message is just starting to be sent. We're in this together."

A number of high profile Democratic operatives, including Mr. Obama's 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina and longtime Clinton adviser Paul Begala, are also affiliated with the group.

Clinton launched her 2016 bid by criticizing the huge sums of money in American politics, even calling for a constitutional amendment to limit unaccountable political spending. But her campaign will also accept aid from Priorities USA and other outside groups, saying it won't "unilaterally disarm" while Republicans are using every tool available.

Priorities USA is prohibited by federal law from colluding with Clinton's campaign in any formal way, but the group plans to run ads supporting her candidacy and defending her from attacks.

Most of Clinton's potential GOP rivals, though, have super PACs of their own - and some don't seem to have any trouble raking in money.

The super PACs supporting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, said last month that they raised $31 million in just the first week of their existence. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who's not yet formally declared a bid, has been coy about his super PAC's haul. But the group, Right to Rise PAC, is expected to break all GOP fundraising records, topping $100 million by the end of May.