Watch CBSN Live

Jeb Bush appears as "special guest" at super PAC event

Former Florida Jeb Bush on Sunday night was the "special guest" at an event hosted by Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Bush's 2016 campaign.

Bush's appearance at the event illustrated just how closely a candidate can work alongside a super PAC campaigning on his behalf, even though any official "coordination" between a super PAC and an electoral candidate is illegal.

The Right to Rise event, a retreat for its top donors, was incidentally held in the same Houston hotel where the Bush campaign was hunkered down for the weekend.

"We have our own invitations, they're in different spots," Right to Rise attorney Charlie Spies said.

Additionally, Spies said, Bush did not ask the donors there for money. However, there was a monetary requirement for attending.

Federal Election Commission rules bar super PACS from coordinating with candidates, but they do allow a candidate to attend a super PAC event -- as long as he or she doesn't directly ask the donors there for more than $5,000 a person. Larry Noble, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center and former general counsel for the FEC, told CBS News in May that this rule is an example of "the absurdity of the FEC." Bush has appeared as a "special guest" at Right to Rise events before, and other candidates like Democrat Hillary Clinton have also appeared at super PAC events.

Right to Rise, which raised more than $100 million in the first half of 2015, is spending large sums in advertising to boost Bush's campaign. The group may further test FEC boundaries by setting up on-the-ground campaign operations in key states, the Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, the Bush campaign spent Monday in Houston giving an in-depth presentation to supporters about the state of the race and where the campaign stands. At the briefing, the team emphasized that Bush will demonstrate over the next 100 days that he is the proven conservative who can fix Washington.

Bush has also recruited members of his famous family -- namely former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush -- to meet with him and his donors at the Houston retreat on Monday.

The two-day Bush campaign event in Houston was designed to assess where Bush's candidacy stands in the face of large-scale staff cutbacks and underwhelming poll numbers, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reported. A GOP source who interacts regularly with the Bush campaign told Garrett there is a "donor revolt in progress," as early Bush backers have grown dismayed over the reversal of their candidate's fortunes.

CBS News' Alan He contributed to this report.