outside groups

Beto O’Rourke breaks presidential fundraising record with $6.1 million haul
Texas Democrat on campaign swing through states Trump won in 2016 after launching campaign Friday

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a St. Patrick’s Day party in Dubuque, Iowa, on Saturday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Beto O’Rourke raised a record-breaking $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after announcing his presidential campaign on Friday.

The former Texas Democratic congressman collected $6,136,763 from donors in every U.S. state and territory, his campaign announced in a news release Monday.

Small-dollar donors could hold the balance in 2020
Concerns about money in politics are empowering individual voters

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who entered the 2020 presidential race Thursday, collected almost half of his $79 million Senate haul last cycle from small donations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Poll after poll shows that a wide majority of Americans denounce the role of money in the nation’s political campaigns — so their behavior in response might come as a surprise: More Americans are donating to candidates, particularly in small-dollar increments.

Molly McCloskey, a 27-year-old who works in advertising in Chicago, said she ponied up several donations, none larger than $40 and most closer to $15, in last year’s campaigns to support Democratic candidates. “There were times where I felt helpless, so I donated,” McCloskey said. “It felt like some sort of action, like I was doing something.”

‘Zombie’ spending marches on as HR 1 faces Senate death, complaint says
Measure would address alleged misuse of campaign accounts after lawmakers leave office

Allegations of using campaign money for personal expenses after leaving office is the subject of a Federal Elections complaint against former Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Senate prepares to face off in the coming weeks over House Democrats’ sweeping political ethics overhaul bill, a provision aimed to curtail so-called “Zombie” campaign spending is getting renewed attention. 

That’s the use of campaign money to pay for personal expenses after a lawmaker has left office. And it’s the subject of two Federal Elections Commission complaints filed this week involving former Republican lawmakers, Florida’s Ander Crenshaw and Georgia’s John Linder

House passes HR 1 government overhaul, sending it back to campaign trail
With Senate not planning to take it up, Democrats plan to continue fight into 2020

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., led Democrats' effort to draft the HR 1 government overhaul package as chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force. The House passed the measure Friday on a party-line vote. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With passage of HR 1, House Democrats’ political money, ethics and voting overhaul, the mammoth proposal now heads exclusively to the 2020 campaign trail, where candidates in both parties say they believe their message will woo voters.

The House passed the measure 234-193 Friday morning. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the bill’s foe in chief, has assured his side he plans to officially ignore it in his chamber, refusing to bring it for a vote even as the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday that he believed his party could win elections against people who support it.

Marie Newman gearing up for another primary challenge to Dan Lipinski
Illinois challenger came within 2 points of defeating the longtime Democratic incumbent

Marie Newman is raising money for another possible primary challenge to Illinois Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After falling 2 points short of defeating longtime Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski in a Democratic primary last year, Marie Newman is raising money for a 2020 challenge to the eight-term incumbent. 

“I want you to know the rumors are true: I’m actively exploring another run for Congress,” she wrote in an email to supporters Thursday morning. 

It’s no longer all about Republican primaries for the Club for Growth
The club played in more general elections in 2018 and expects that to continue in 2020

David M. McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, believes his group needs to play in general elections, not just Republican primaries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Club for Growth has long been an arbiter of crowded primaries in safe Republican seats, but its role is evolving in the era of President Donald Trump. 

The group’s super PAC and PAC are still major players in internecine battles — the club successfully torpedoed a candidate in a Pennsylvania nominating convention over the weekend and is already interviewing candidates for two House special elections in North Carolina. 

With both parties awash with cash, maybe campaign reform isn’t so quixotic
Republicans may need to rethink their knee-jerk opposition to HR 1

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt at a news conference Wednesday to oppose the House Democrats’ government overhaul package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — After months of polls, focus groups and strategy sessions, Michael Bloomberg came to the obvious conclusion — unlimited money cannot buy a presidential nomination in 2020.

Yes, the news stories talked about competition from Joe Biden and the difficulty that a moderate would have in surviving the Democratic primaries. But Bloomberg implicitly conceded that even a billionaire’s bankroll would not be enough to dominate simultaneous March 3, 2020, primaries in California and Texas.

Democrats vow Judge Chad Readler will be 2020 issue
Murray and Schumer among Democrats blasting his role in targeting health care law

The Senate confirmed Chad A. Readler, President Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the 6th Circuit, on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats say they will remember the Wednesday afternoon vote to confirm Chad A. Readler, one of President Donald Trump’s most contentious judicial nominees.

The 52-47 vote to install Readler on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio could easily be lumped in with many other Trump choices pushed through the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Why this North Carolina Democrat thinks he can succeed Walter Jones
Conservative 3rd District backed Trump by 24 points in 2016

Retired Marine Col. Richard Bew is running for North Carolina’s 3rd District as a Democrat. (Courtesy Richard Bew’s campaign)

No Democrat stepped up to challenge Rep. Walter B. Jones last fall. The Republican congressman ran unopposed for a 13th term in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

But Jones’ death last month has triggered a September special election, and some Democrats are giving this military-heavy district another look. 

Liberal outside groups lobby for campaign finance overhaul
A coalition of 71 hopes to persuade House members to approve campaign finance, ethics law overhaul

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., leaves a meeting of House Republicans at the RNC, June 16, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A coalition of 71 mostly liberal organizations is mobilizing to persuade House members to approve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s campaign finance, ethics, lobbying and election laws.

The House Rules Committee, according to a notice on its website, is expected to consider the bill next week, priming it for the floor. The measure, which has widespread support among House Democrats, has no GOP backers and is expected to pass the House on a party-line vote as soon as next week. The Republican-led Senate is unlikely to consider the legislation at all.