The Washington Post

As companies held back on donations to GOP lawmakers who op-posed certificat­ion of the electoral vote, small donors appeared to make up the difference.

As firms cut off financial support, small donors made up the difference

- BY TORY NEWMYER AND ANU NARAYANSWA­MY tory.newmyer@washpost.com anu.narayanswa­my@washpost.com Marianna Sotomayor and Aaron Gregg contribute­d to this report.

Corporatio­ns that pledged to cut off donations to Republican lawmakers who opposed certifying the presidenti­al election results largely made good on the commitment, removing a key source of financial support for the party in the first three months of the year.

But at least a third of those 147 Republican­s neverthele­ss raised more campaign money compared with the same period in 2019, boosting their collection­s from individual donors to make up the difference, a Washington Post analysis of federal election records shows.

A handful of congressio­nal Republican­s — the most outspoken supporters of groundless electionre­lated claims that helped inspire the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol — shattered their fundraisin­g performanc­es from two years earlier.

Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) each pulled in more than $3 million. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), whose extreme views prompted a House vote in February that stripped her of committee assignment­s, raised more than $3.2 million. That earned her the second-highest fundraisin­g haul among House Republican­s, behind only Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), who also opposed certifying President Biden’s electoral win.

Several other Republican­s who built national profiles as hard-line Trump loyalists also posted banner fundraisin­g hauls.

In total, a dozen GOP election objectors raised at least $1 million each. Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), now facing a federal investigat­ion into possible sex traffickin­g, raised $1.8 million; Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), who like Gaetz proved one of Trump’s most reliable defenders on Fox News, collected $2.1 million. A pair of bombastic freshmen — Reps. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), who raised $1 million, and Lauren Boebert (Colo.), who raised $846,000 — leapfrogge­d the vast majority of their colleagues by rallying individual donors.

Taken together, the results from the first quarter offer a view of a Republican Party increasing­ly alienated from the corporate class it once counted on as a stalwart ally. The deadly riot at the Capitol repulsed business leaders already wary of the GOP’S transforma­tion under President Donald Trump. And the party’s fastest-rising stars remain unapologet­ic for stoking the false claims of a stolen election that led to the insurrecti­on. Instead, they are shunning support from business in favor of individual donors Trump helped activate.

Corporate interests and other traditiona­l conservati­ve donors have rallied to the handful of Republican­s moving to banish the former president. House Republican­s who have drawn primary challenges after voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack outpaced their opposition in the first quarter, according to a review by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisa­n, nonprofit research group. House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney ( Wyo.), the most prominent among them, collected $1.5 million.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), who has launched a super PAC to support anti-trump Republican­s, raised $1.1 million, his highest-ever quarterly total.

“There were a lot of people who wrote the 10 of us off after we did this,” Kinzinger said of the House Republican­s who voted for Trump’s impeachmen­t. “I think the fact that all of us had great quarters shows that if you do the right thing, there’s a constituen­cy out there that will support it.”

Republican­s with an outsize media presence and a rising profile among small donors may not have registered the snub from big businesses. But a number of industry-friendly lawmakers, who once leveraged posts on top committees to rake in corporate contributi­ons, saw their fundraisin­g drop dramatical­ly.

“It’s their money, and it’s their right to do whatever they chose to do,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R- Okla.), whose first-quarter collection­s cratered from $147,000 in 2019 to $42,000 this year after voting against certifying Biden’s victory. “But I think people tend to remember something like that, so we’ll see what happens.”

Several corporate interests that pledged at least to rethink their political activity after the attack on the Capitol, including Toyota, Cigna, Jetblue and the National Associatio­n of Realtors, already have restarted giving to some Republican election objectors.

Toyota said in a statement it would not withhold contributi­ons from lawmakers “solely based on their votes” on certifying the election. Cigna said its “new standard applies to those who incited violence or actively sought” to disrupt the presidenti­al transition. Jetblue and the Realtors lobby signaled in statements that the events around the Capitol attack will no longer bear on their political giving.

Other companies appear to have end-run their own pledges by cutting checks to groups that have provided critical support to the lawmakers in past campaigns. Intel, for example, donated to the National Republican Congressio­nal Committee, and AT&T contribute­d to the House Conservati­ves Fund, as the newsletter Popular Info first reported.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce helped open the door for such moves. In a March memo, the bigbusines­s lobby said it would draw a distinctio­n between Republican­s who voted against certifying the election and “those who engaged and continue to engage in repeated actions that undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutio­ns.”

Cole, a former political consultant and past chairman of the National Republican Congressio­nal Committee, said some PAC directors for companies that have sworn off donations to the 147 Republican­s have told him they are looking for an opportunit­y to reopen the spigot. Those executives have him they “wanted to make a statement, but they know long-term who works with them and who doesn’t.”

A Democratic push for raising corporate taxes to help fund infrastruc­ture spending — which Republican­s are expected to oppose — could force the issue, Cole said. “I don’t see a long-term change in giving patterns,” he said. In the meantime, “most people raise a lot more money from sources other than PACS, so it’s not as damaging as it would have been a few years ago.”

Some top House Republican­s are encouragin­g their colleagues to embrace a small-donor strategy. They argue Republican­s can burnish their populist credential­s by shunning corporate support. Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.), who chairs the conservati­ve Republican Study Committee, points to his own success replacing corporate PAC support he lost after the Capitol attack, including from Indianabas­ed drugmaker Eli Lilly.

“Once my supporters learned that liberal corporatio­ns blackliste­d me because I refused to cave to their demands on January 6th, they were happy to make up the difference,” Banks wrote in a lengthy memo sent to House Minority Leader Kevin Mccarthy (RCalif.) in late March.

 ?? BILL CLARK/POOL/REUTERS ?? Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), above, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), left, were among the 147 GOP lawmakers who opposed certifying the presidenti­al election results. Despite pledges by corporatio­ns to cut off political contributi­ons to those who voted to oppose certificat­ion, the two Republican­s each pulled in more than $3 million in fundraisin­g during the first quarter of the year.
BILL CLARK/POOL/REUTERS Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), above, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), left, were among the 147 GOP lawmakers who opposed certifying the presidenti­al election results. Despite pledges by corporatio­ns to cut off political contributi­ons to those who voted to oppose certificat­ion, the two Republican­s each pulled in more than $3 million in fundraisin­g during the first quarter of the year.
 ?? SALWAN GEORGES/THE WASHINGTON POST ??
SALWAN GEORGES/THE WASHINGTON POST

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