Democrats are already benefiting politically from the government shutdown — in their pocketbooks.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $8.4 million in September, according to an aide with the group, a significant sum more than a year before next year’s election. The haul dwarfs the $5.3 million collected last month by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which was again out-raised by House Democrats despite holding the majority.
To date this year, the DCCC has raised $58.2 million and has $21.6 million on hand. The NRCC has $15.7 million cash on hand.
The run-up to the 16-day standoff, which began Oct. 1, had a big impact on the DCCC’s September finances. In the six days after Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster, it raised $2 million online on nearly 100,000 donations, according to a committee aide. In total last month, the group collected $3 million from 160,000 online donations, helping push it to the best off-year September fundraising haul in the DCCC’s history.
The report is the latest sign that after the shutdown, money is becoming a concern for Republicans. Dissatisfied donors from the GOP’s business and conservative wings, angry at a party they don’t think is listening to them, have threatened to withhold contributions. Democrats have also outraised Republicans elsewhere: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.6 million last month, $1 million more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s $3.6 million. For the first time in 17 months, the Democratic National Committee raised more cash than the Republican National Committee — $7.4 million to $7.1 million.
And the surge occurred entirely before the government shutdown took effect, suggesting the fundraising disparity could widen after October’s reports are released next month.
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.