Incoming Whip Scalise Cashing In With Big Donors

Dozens of PACs have been filling the Louisiana Republican’s campaign coffers since he was elected to the No. 3 leadership post in the House.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) (L) speaks to members of the media as Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (R) listens after a leadership election at a House Republican Conference meeting June 19, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House GOPs have picked Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the new House majority leader and Scalise as the new majority whip. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Scott Bland
July 21, 2014, 5:46 p.m.

A dona­tion to a mem­ber of Con­gress? $1,000. A dona­tion to the fu­ture ma­jor­ity whip of the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives? Price­less.

That ap­pears to be the cal­cu­la­tion Mas­ter­Card made in June. The cred­it-card com­pany’s polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tee had nev­er giv­en money to Rep. Steve Scal­ise be­fore this sum­mer. But Mas­ter­Card’s PAC was one of more than 60 donors that gave thou­sands of dol­lars to Scal­ise’s con­gres­sion­al cam­paign in the days after the Louisi­ana Re­pub­lic­an was elec­ted as the next House ma­jor­ity whip, ac­cord­ing to fed­er­al cam­paign fin­ance re­cords.

House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor’s sur­pris­ing primary loss on June 10 opened up a slot in GOP lead­er­ship for Scal­ise, who will take over as ma­jor­ity whip on Ju­ly 31 when the cur­rent whip, Rep. Kev­in Mc­Carthy of Cali­for­nia, re­places Can­tor as ma­jor­ity lead­er. Sud­denly and not co­in­cid­ent­ally, groups and in­di­vidu­al donors are lin­ing up to add them­selves to Scal­ise’s sup­port­er rolls.

The nearly $150,000 that Scal­ise brought in at the very end of June in­cluded cam­paign cash from nearly three dozen new donors, Mas­ter­Card’s PAC in­cluded, that had nev­er ap­peared on the three-term con­gress­man’s cam­paign fin­ance re­ports be­fore he as­cen­ded to the No. 3 spot among House Re­pub­lic­ans. The new donors range from seni­or ex­ec­ut­ives at Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing firms to com­mit­tees rep­res­ent­ing the de­fense, fin­an­cial, and med­ic­al in­dus­tries.

Scal­ise doesn’t need the money for reelec­tion; like most mem­bers of con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship, his seat is safe. Scal­ise won reelec­tion in Novem­ber 2012 with two-thirds of the vote.

One new donor, Squire Pat­ton Boggs’s Emanuel Ross­man, comes from the top-billing lobby shop in Wash­ing­ton so far this year, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spons­ive Polit­ics. An­oth­er, U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce lob­by­ist John Howard, hails from the highest-spend­ing lob­by­ing cli­ent of 2014, also per CRP.

In the PAC cat­egory, the de­fense firm Gen­er­al Dy­nam­ics and the fin­an­cial firm Mc­Graw Hill also gave to Scal­ise for the first time.

With the help of his new sup­port­ers, whose dona­tions were pro­cessed on the last day of June, Scal­ise raised more money for his cam­paign com­mit­tee in the second quarter of 2014 than in any three-month peri­od since the year he was first elec­ted to Con­gress. In the short term, that helped re­coup ex­penses from his pricey race for ma­jor­ity whip, dur­ing which Scal­ise donated $30,000 to House Re­pub­lic­an col­leagues, in­clud­ing Can­tor, and racked up bills in the $10,000 range at res­taur­ants where he had din­ner with his cam­paign team.

In the long term, this could be the be­gin­ning of Scal­ise’s trans­form­a­tion in­to a fun­drais­ing force. The trend of new donors should only grow in the next quarter for two reas­ons. First, as a new mem­ber of lead­er­ship, Scal­ise has great­er re­spons­ib­il­it­ies to the rest of the caucus, which in­cludes re­doubled fun­drais­ing ef­forts.

On the oth­er side of the fun­drais­ing equa­tion, it’s also the job of some PACs and in­di­vidu­als to have re­la­tion­ships with the ma­jor­ity whip. “So in­dus­tries will be lin­ing up to sup­port him,” said Ron Bon­jean, a GOP strategist and former spokes­man for House and Sen­ate lead­er­ship.

What We're Following See More »
AT LEAST NOT YET
Paul Ryan Can’t Get Behind Trump
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Preet Bharara Learned at the Foot of Chuck Schumer
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin gives Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the longread treatment. The scourge of corrupt New York pols, bad actors on Wall Street, and New York gang members, Bharara learned at the foot of Chuck Schumer, the famously limelight-hogging senator whom he served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff. No surprise then, that after President Obama appointed him, Bharara "brought a media-friendly approach to what has historically been a closed and guarded institution. In professional background, Bharara resembles his predecessors; in style, he’s very different. His personality reflects his dual life in New York’s political and legal firmament. A longtime prosecutor, he sometimes acts like a budding pol; his rhetoric leans more toward the wisecrack than toward the jeremiad. He expresses himself in the orderly paragraphs of a former high-school debater, but with deft comic timing and a gift for shtick."

Source:
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Commutes the Sentences of 58 Prisoners
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.

STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
12 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
‘NO MORAL OR ETHICAL GROUNDING’
Sen. Murphy: Trump Shouldn’t Get Classified Briefigs
12 hours ago
THE LATEST
×