Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will head the Republican National Committee's presidential trust, the party announced Friday morning, a position from which he could launch a national campaign of his own -- eventually.
The trust is the fund from which the RNC will be able to make expenditures in coordination with its eventual presidential nominee. The fund can raise tens of millions of dollars, which could prove crucial after a nominee emerges from what could be a bloody, contentious and drawn out process. A broke nominee will be able to draw on RNC resources to fend off Democratic attacks while he or she restocks depleted campaign coffers.
In the long run, the post is a big deal for Ryan. The chairman of the House Budget Committee is a heroic figure to many in the conservative media elite, many of whom urged him to run for president. That was never a serious prospect, according to those close to Ryan, but he has realized that if he ever wants to run nationally, he'll need a donor base.
Running the trust will put Ryan's name in front of big donors who could eventually provide that base. A single donor can give up to $30,800 to the trust. And Ryan has promised Republicans he will be more than an honorary chairman; sources say he will dedicate both travel and call time to raising money for the trust.
His appointment is another sign that Ryan will disappoint fans in the conservative literati by forgoing a presidential bid this year. But it's a sign that he recognizes his potential as a future candidate, and he's laying a foundation in case the timing ever works out.