Donations Pour in After Scalise Elected House GOP Whip

Image: Donations Pour in After Scalise Elected House GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. (Kevin Diestch/UPI/Landov)

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 01:59 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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It didn't take long for Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise to find new financial backers after he was elected House Republican whip in June, with $101,000 of the $257,600 raised  between July 1 and Aug. 2 coming from PACs that had not given to his previous campaigns.

The pattern is continuing in August, reports The New York Times, with Federal Election Commission records showing The New York Life Insurance Co. PAC, wrote two checks for $5,000 each on Aug. 13, and the U.S. Travel Association PAC contributing $5,000 on Aug. 11. Both PACS were first-time donors.

While Scalise had attracted donations from conservative groups as head of the Republican Study Committee, more business interests are lining up now that he's the Republican whip. Some of the major companies now donating to Scalise include PACs from Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Delta Air Lines, and News Corp.

Some other PACS increased their donations, including the American Resort Development Association, which has given $9,000 since July 24, after donating just $1,000 to him over the past five years.

It's not unusual for party leaders to acquire large sums of money. When Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor became whip in 2008, his fundraising also jumped.

Cantor, whose resignation became effective Monday after losing his primary re-election bid to Republican David Brat, only brought $29,600 after his own rise to whip. However, unlike Scalise, Cantor already had established donor relationships with several PACS.

The donations aren't just from PACs, reports The National Journal. One of his new donors, Emanuel Rossman, is from the top-billing lobbyist firm in Washington so far this year, Squire Patton Boggs, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics.

In addition, another donor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist John Howard, is from the highest-spending lobbying client of 2014, CRP reports indicate.

The new supporters have allowed Scalise to raise more money for his campaign committee during the second quarter of 2014 than he did during any three-month period since he first came to Congress.

However, his campaign for majority whip was expensive, with Scalise donating $30,000 to House Republican colleagues, while totaling bills of about $10,000 at restaurants where he and his campaign team dined.

Scalise donor totals will likely even climb higher. The full report won't be filed until Sept. 15. The current numbers were filed as a pre-primary report for the months of July and August. He has totaled over $1.7 million in this election cycle, after raising $1.4 million in 2012.

In addition, Scalise's own PAC, the Eye of the Tiger, has raised more than $400,000, placing it in 26th place in House leadership PACs, a figure that will likely climb as Scalise remains in the whip position.

Scalise is seeking re-election this year, facing a challenge from Libertarian Jerry Sanford, the only candidate to file Federal Elections Commission paperwork to run against him, reports The New Orleans Times-Picayune. His seat is considered safe, as he won re-election in 2012, when he took two-thirds of the vote.

However, Sanford has not raised or spent money in the election, reports the FEC. Candidates can start qualifying for the Nov. 4 election on Wednesday.

Scalise is the state representative for Louisiana's 1st Congressional District, which is located from south of New Orleans to the southeastern section of the state.

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