U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson addresses the 2018 GOP state convention. WisconsinEye screenshot

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has connected his personal campaign account with additional joint fundraising committees that will make it easier for national Republicans to funnel money into the Oshkosh lawmaker’s campaign.

National Republicans largely abandoned Johnson during the fall of 2016 amid doubts about his prospects in a rematch with Dem Russ Feingold only to rush back into Wisconsin over the final weeks as the race shifted in the incumbent’s favor. The connections to groups such as GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s joint fundraising agreement are a sign of the financial commitment Republicans are making to his campaign this time around.

According to the FEC, the connections give those joint fundraising operations permission to raise money on Johnson’s behalf and make transfers to his campaign.

Joint fundraising operations allow donors to write one check that can then be split among multiple candidates. The operations are required to disclose to donors their formula for how proceeds will be split, and there remain limits on what can be transferred to candidates from the contribution of a single donor.

Those transfers to personal campaign accounts are capped at $5,800, which accounts for the $2,900 federal candidates can accept in a primary and the $2,900 they can take for the general election.

Shortly after Johnson announced he would seek a third term in January, his personal fundraising account filed an amended registration statement with the FEC that listed connections to three joint fundraising operations: Cornyn Victory Committee, tied to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Johnson’s joint fundraising operation; Take Back the Senate, which raises money for GOP candidates; and the Wisconsin Senate Fund.

Johnson filed a new amended registration statement last week that continued to list connections to his joint fundraising operation and Cornyn’s, as well as Take Back the Senate.

It no longer listed the Wisconsin Senate Fund, but picked up: Team McConnell, which is tied to the GOP leader; 2022 Senators Classic Committee, which is tied to 11 GOP senators on the ballot this fall; and Red Victory 22.

Red Victory 22 was created last year and lists a Hudson, Wis., P.O. box for its address. The treasurer listed for the group is Thomas Datwyler, who has ties to several committees active in GOP politics. That includes the 1820 PAC, which supported U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in her 2020 reelection campaign. According to the Washington Post, the FBI opened a probe into the group over possible illegal campaign contributions by a defense company.

See the new registration statement here.

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