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Pro-Trump super PAC shutting down amid questions about ties to Trump campaign

Donald Trump tells a hypothetical story about taxing goods manufactured outside the United States, saying he is "really rich" and wouldn't kowtow to donors. (Video: AP)

This post has been updated.

A super PAC with ties to Donald Trump's presidential campaign is shutting down in an effort to put an end to building questions about the closeness of the two operations, the group's lead consultant said Thursday.

After The Washington Post reported this week on multiple connections between Trump and the Make America Great Again PAC, Mike Ciletti, the Colorado-based operative running the group, said he had decided to close up shop.

"It's an issue that I have relationships with Mr. Trump's staff," he said in a phone interview. "I will eliminate the questions and shut down the super PAC." Ciletti's decision was first reported by Politico.

The Post reported this week that Trump's campaign has paid two firms connected to Ciletti, a longtime associate of Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Ciletti also solicited a major GOP donor using contact information he suggested came from Trump's personal assistant, The Post reported.

Ciletti said Thursday that he did not receive the donor contact information "from anyone employed by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign," but refused to say how he obtained it. He also said that any work he did for Trump came before the real estate mogul officially entered the race in mid-June.

The Colorado GOP operative declined to say whether Lewandowski played a role in setting up the super PAC or whether Trump had authorized the super PAC to use his Rolodex to reach potential contributors.

"How it came into existence isn't really relevant at this point," he said. He started the group, he said, because "it was an opportunity to have an important role in the presidential race." But, Ciletti added, "its impact will never be realized."

He said neither Trump nor anyone from his campaign had asked him to shut down the operation.

Ciletti said the group had a half a dozen consultants and had already begun spending money on voter data and media. Now, he said, Make America Great Again will fulfill its remaining obligations to vendors and refund any leftover donations. He declined to say how much the super PAC had raised, which does not have to be reported until January.

"My intent with the super PAC was to keep the focus on the candidate, where it should be," he said.

What Donald Trump is doing on the campaign trail

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)