COMMITTEES

NDRC Raised $11M in 2017

The DGA and RGA funnel money from corporations to campaigns.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
Jan. 2, 2018, 10:07 a.m.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee announced in a Dec. 22 memo that it and its affiliated organizations raised $11 million last year. (release)

MONEY MANAGEMENT. “U.S. companies have found a loophole in state campaign-finance rules by funneling donations aimed at helping candidates through the RGA and its Democratic counterpart, according to multiple former officials. Donors can’t earmark money for a particular candidate. Instead, they can simply—and legally—tell the groups they have ‘an interest’ in a race or are making a donation ‘at the request’ of a gubernatorial candidate, these officials say. An internal tracking system, sometimes called the ‘tally,’ allows the DGA to keep tabs on how much individual governors raise for the association from companies and other donors, which later helps it figure out how to allocate the money, former DGA officials said. The RGA has a similar system, former RGA officials say.”

“Multiple former RGA and DGA officials described the practice of guiding donations as an open secret. The available public data hint at a pattern, too. Over the past decade, 42 S&P 500 index companies gave donations of $100,000 or more to the RGA or DGA. Donations by 19 of those companies were followed by an RGA or DGA expenditure of the same or greater amount within a month in a state where the company has operations.”

Case in point: “Mountaire sent $250,000 to the RGA on Oct. 31,” 2014, just as it “was facing tough new environmental regulations in Maryland, where it raises and processes millions of chickens every year. [Now-Gov. Larry] Hogan (R) had criticized the regulations.”

Another example: “At the RGA’s nondescript headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, top staff met in the summer of 2014 where they discussed, among other things, helping Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker using money committed by casino magnate Steve Wynn. At the time, Wynn Resorts Ltd. was seeking to finalize plans to build a Massachusetts casino. In September 2014, it received preliminary approval under the then-Democratic administration. … On Oct. 1, 2014, Mr. Wynn’s company donated $2 million to the RGA, its largest-ever donation to the group. That same day, the RGA donated $1.1 million to help support … Baker. … Wynn, who is now finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he ‘didn’t know Charlie Baker was running’ for governor. He says he donated the money to benefit” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R). (Wall Street Journal)

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