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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A Bad Week for GOP Fundraising

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign, where Trump suggested that he would not acknowledge defeat.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.    But his base continues to believe the bogus narrative.


Corporate America on Monday raced to talk tough about how it would punish Republican politicians who sowed the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

A diverse set of companies said they would not donate any more money from their corporate political action committees (PACs) to GOP officeholders involved in obstructing the certification of the Electoral College vote. Some Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft foreswore all political donations altogether.

It could presage real change. But on its face, it’s not all that it seems.

While donations from PACs sound like a big deal, they reflect an increasingly small proportion of the total money in American elections. That’s especially true in the opening months of an election cycle’s off-year, and some corporations — like the three tech companies — on Monday made clear that their penalization was temporary....


[D]onations from business interests largely flow outside of corporate PACs in America’s campaign-finance system. Corporations and linked individuals these days can finance outside groups that spend on behalf of candidates but are not a candidate-run committee, such as “super PACs” or political nonprofit groups. No company in recent days has said that their decisions will apply to these types of donations, nor could that always be verified given that nonprofits don’t have to disclose the origins of their donations in the first place.

Corporate PACs contributed just 5 percent of the money raised in the 2020 election, down from 9 percent in 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s partially because PAC contributions are capped at $5,000-a-donation, a limit that hasn’t been increased since 1974, while super PACs and other outside groups can take in donations of unlimited amounts. Another factor is that savvy politicians on both sides have cultivated small-dollar donor bases that are making up larger and larger percentages of the total money in elections.

Direct corporate donations can add up to real money in some individual down-ballot races, such as for a moderate, backbench House Republican who doesn’t face a competitive race and so takes it easy on fundraising. About 20 percent of the money raised by House Republicans’ campaign committees came from PACs, the Center for Responsive Politics says. But even for them, PACs are playing a smaller and smaller role: That figure was over 40 percent in the 2016 cycle.
Sheldon Adelson, the multibillionaire casino mogul and Republican Party megadonor, died Monday at age 87.

Adelson died from complications related to treatment he was receiving for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to a press release Tuesday morning from Las Vegas Sands, the casino and resort company he owned.

Adelson, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes to be around $33 billion, had been among the most-watched donors supporting President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection effort. He was also a stalwart supporter of Israel, maintaining a close friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

...

Adelson and his wife have combined to be the top campaign donors in the past two election cycles, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

All of their contributions went to Republican candidates, including efforts supporting Trump.