CNBC: Dark money group America First Policies is running a pro-Trump polling operation. Here is an inside look at its secretive work

Date
America First Policies, a nonprofit group with close ties to President Donald Trump, has hired Trump's pollsters to conduct a wide range of political polling and research that experts say resembles the kind of expensive work the Republican National Committee has performed for prior GOP administrations.   ...   "AFP is doing the type of polling that would typically be done by a presidential campaign or a major party committee like the RNC or the DNC," said Brendan Fischer, an election law expert at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. "So even though they claim to be committed to a set of issues, the available evidence here indicates that they're operating as a polling shop for the president."   America First Policies reportedly raised $26 million last year for issue advocacy, but the "Issue" pages on its website do not appear to have been updated for months. "This is supposed to be an organization dedicated to informing the public about issues, and yet its issue pages contain stale news stories and reports borrowed from other outlets," said Fischer.   ...   "So you have a situation where large donors are contributing to America First Policies with the understanding that their secret donations are going to be seen as valuable by the president, because this group appears to work so closely with the White House," said Campaign Legal Center's Fischer. "And because these donors are secret, the public and Congress will never know if the White House later took action to advance a donor's interests."   ...   "All these entities are indistinguishable from one another on the ground level," said Campaign Legal Center's Fischer. "We have rules to guard against corruption and rules to help ensure transparency when money is being spent to influence elections. And it seems that there are grounds here to ask whether this group is just flouting those rules."   Read the full article