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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
TIME TO SPLIT
House Passes CR, Sends Bill to President’s Desk
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN’T NAME ONE WORLD LEADER
Gary Johnson Stumbles Again
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
GOES TO PRESIDENT
Senate Approves Bill to Preserve Rape Kits
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation ensuring sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have access to forensic evidence collection kits, sending the bill to President Obama's desk. The legislation, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was passed by unanimous consent as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until after the election. The House passed the measure earlier this month."

Source:
2-MONTH GIG OR 8-YEAR GIG?
Alec Baldwin to Play Trump on ‘SNL’
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS
STRIKES DOWN NEW HAMPSHIRE BAN
Court: Selfies in Voting Booth Now OK
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
×