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.

Democrats Fundraise off of Possible North Carolina Special Election
Through ActBlue, politicians solicit funds to be divided between them and McCready

Democrats are sending out fundraising solicitations for contributions to be split between themselves and North Carolina Democrat Dan McCready.  (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

It’s not yet known when or if there will be another election in North Carolina’s 9th District, but that’s not stopping politicians and PACs from using the prospect of such a contest for end-of-the-year fundraising — for Democrat Dan McCready and for themselves. 

McCready had conceded the race to Republican Mark Harris, but after the Associated Press retracted its call for Harris, McCready withdrew his concession. 

Arizona Governor to Appoint Martha McSally to McCain’s Senate Seat
Sinema will be sworn in first, with McSally becoming the state's junior senator

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint Republican Rep. Martha McSally to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is appointing GOP Rep. Martha McSally to the late Sen. John McCain’s Senate seat. 

After McCain’s death in August, Ducey tapped former Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the post. Kyl is vacating it at the end of the year.

Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Charities argued against doubling the standard deduction, but so far the change hasn’t slowed down giving. Above, President Donald Trump, flanked by Republican lawmakers, celebrates the 2017 tax law. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.

Sen. Jon Kyl Will Resign at the End of the Year
Arizona governor will have opportunity to appoint new senator

Sen. Jon Kyl is expected to retire from the Senate again, effective Dec. 31. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl is expected to retire from the Senate at the end of the month.

The Republican senator returned to the chamber in September after Gov. Doug Ducey appointed him to replace the late Sen. John McCain. He previously served three terms in the Senate from 1995 to 2013.