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Vote Mama helps moms with young children to run for office
New York’s Liuba Grechen Shirley launches PAC to support progressive candidates

Liuba Grechen Shirley, shown here with her children Mila, left, and Nicky, persuaded the Federal Election Commission to allow her to use campaign funds from her House campaign to pay for child care expenses. (Courtesy Liuba Grechen Shirley)

Liuba Grechen Shirley attracted national attention when she persuaded federal election officials to allow her to use money she raised for her 2018 congressional campaign to pay for babysitting expenses.

She still lost her 2018 House campaign. So did the six other women with children under 2 who ran for Congress last year, she said, in spite of what has been universally recognized as a watershed moment for women in politics.

Steve King’s constituents in Iowa grapple with his ‘white supremacy’ comments
Some think Washington lawmakers are ‘overreacting,’ while others have said the Iowa Republican should resign

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is under pressure from constituents in the 4th District for comments he made questioning when “white supremacy” became an offensive term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Top Republicans in Washington — including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican — have called for Rep. Steve King to resign from office over his comments about white supremacy and white nationalism to The New York Times last week.

 

They raised millions and lost. Now what?
Democrats who were top fundraisers look to stay involved in politics

Kentucky’s Amy McGrath was one of the top Democratic fundraisers of the 2018 cycle in her unsuccessful challenge to GOP Rep. Andy Barr. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

Democrats who ran for the House in 2018 shattered fundraising records, some even surpassing Senate candidates. But not all of the cycle’s top fundraisers ended up winning their races. 

That’s left a number of candidates — with high profiles and massive donor lists — pondering their next moves. And some are still eyeing careers in politics. 

Democrats try to meet people where they are: mired in cynicism
Next to Trump’s unfulfilled, empty pledge to drain the swamp, HR 1 looks pretty savvy

Democrats are intent on sticking to their “For the People” message, even if they’re swimming upstream against the partial government shutdown. Above, from left, Rep. Colin Allred, Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark, and Rep. Xochitl Torres-Small hold a press conference in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — It’s tempting, and deliciously smug, to dismiss House Democrats’ everything-but-the-kitchen-sink campaign finance, lobbying, ethics and voting overhaul bill as an overtly partisan political messaging stunt that’s doomed in the Senate and too unpolished for enactment.

The measure is all of those. But ignoring this effort outright means waving off voters’ very real perception that their democracy has been sold out to the highest campaign donors.

New members, meet the ‘slush fund’
Many Hill freshmen are already establishing leadership PACs despite association with abuse

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., are among the more than two dozen freshman lawmakers who have established so-called leadership PACs, a type of fundraising committee critics say is too often abused. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have pledged not to accept corporate PAC money. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The newest class of congressional lawmakers — some of whom campaigned against corruption and corporate influence in politics — is rapidly adopting a practice that critics say is among the swampier in Washington.

More than two dozen new members of the House and Senate — including prominent freshmen such as New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney — have established so-called leadership PACs, according to data compiled by government watchdog group Issue One. Leadership PACs are fundraising committees that allow lawmakers to raise money for their colleagues and candidates.

We’ve peered into the void of Beto’s mouth. Now what?
Hell hath no fury like a bunch of reporters scorned

Beto O’Rourke bared all (of his mouth) this week. The media wasn’t happy. But were they the only ones to care? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What do Beto O’Rourke and I have in common besides the hot Irish blood running through our veins? We both spent Thursday morning at the dentist. While my hygienist knows this about me, thousands (millions?) know this about O’Rourke, thanks to Instagram.

The former congressman turned failed Senate candidate from Texas, now reportedly eyeing the presidency, took to Instagram Live to broadcast his dental cleaning and speak with his supporters. You know, just Regular Guy stuff.

Kirsten Gillibrand laying tracks for 2020 presidential run
Hired former DCCC chief spokeswoman, planning NY campaign HQ and heading to Iowa

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York shows all the signs of someone who is about to announce a presidential run. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has begun laying most of the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign — virtually all she has left to do now is announce she’s jumping into the race.

The New York Democrat has recruited former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief spokeswoman Meredith Kelly to head the communications staff for her prospective campaign and a handful of other seasoned Democratic operatives for senior staff positions, The New York Times reported Friday.

Iowa governor won’t support Rep. Steve King over primary challenger
Gov. Kim Reynolds criticized King’s white nationalist postings only after the midterm election was over

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King served as one of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ campaign co-chairmen last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds indicated Wednesday she won’t support Republican Rep. Steve King over his primary challenger in 2020.

The Republican governor’s rebuke of the congressman comes on the heels of an announcement by Republican state Sen. Randy Feenstra that he will run against King for his 4th District seat.

House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls
Committees will soon begin marking up aspects of the package ahead of floor vote on H.R. 1

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plan to bring a bill to the floor in the coming weeks to overhaul voting and campaign finance laws. Democrats are introducing it as H.R. 1 to signal that it’s their top priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call. 

The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February. 

Despite Campaign Finance Issues, Rep.-elect Ross Spano Staffs Capitol Hill Office
Former longtime staffer to Rep. John Culberson will fill role of chief of staff

Rep.-elect Ross Spano, R-Fla., announced his new staff today. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Rep.-elect Ross Spano announced his senior staff Thursday, quieting concerns that the freshman Republican would not be able to fill his office amid looming legal questions about his campaign financing and reports that job candidates have been alarmed by the role of a controversial donor in the hiring process.

Spano faces bipartisan calls for inquiries by the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee into how he funded his campaign to replace Rep. Dennis A. Ross, who retired, in the 15th District.