D.C. Download: 2023 first quarter congressional fundraising recap

22 April 2023

Congress is back in session and the debt limit is all the rage as House Republicans introduced a bill that would raise the debt ceiling for one year in exchange for a host of cuts and rollbacks. Meanwhile, the FEC filing deadline was over the weekend, creating an opening data point in the long march toward the 2024 election.

What we learned from the FEC filings

Congressional candidates’ first-quarter fundraising reports were due to the Federal Election Commission last weekend, providing some interesting early data as campaigns begin raising money. 

Of Nevada’s four House incumbents, Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) had the biggest fundraising quarter — with just over half a million raised — and the most cash on hand. Lee had the closest House race in the state in 2022.

She was followed by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), who raised more than $400,000 and had more than $335,000 in the bank. Between Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Mark Amodei (R-NV), Titus raised more, at just under $100,000 to Amodei’s $60,400, but Amodei had more cash on hand after factoring in leftover funds from his last campaign. Amodei has more than $261,000 on hand, while Titus’ account has nearly $241,000.

Titus’ lower total at this point — compared to her Democratic peers — is not unusual for her. She raised about $48,000 in the first quarter of 2021. In both cases, a number of institutional backers, like political action committees associated with prolific Democratic fundraisers like former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), had not waded into fundraising with the might they show in election years. 

Lee and Amodei, meanwhile, each posted fundraising totals that slightly trailed their April 2021 metrics. Horsford beat his April 2021 total by about $40,000.

The three House Democrats each have declared Republican challengers who submitted fundraising reports. (Sen. Jacky Rosen, who had a prolific fundraising quarter, has no opponents who have submitted financial information.) 

Two of the challengers, restaurateur Flemming Larsen in NV-01, and veteran David Flippo in NV-04, are primarily self-funded. Larsen loaned his campaign $500,000 while receiving nearly $86,000 in contributions from individuals; Flippo donated nearly $85,000 to himself, with an additional $133,580 in individual contributions. Neither the GOP nor its aligned PACs have waded into Republican primaries yet. 

Retired Army Col. Mark Robertson, Titus’ 2022 opponent, only raised $15 in the last quarter, but he has the resources to try and give Titus a rematch if he is interested. His campaign account has nearly $127,000 in it, though he spent the last quarter spending some of it on charitable contributions and refunding donors.

Meanwhile, Lee’s potential opponent, former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien, has fewer resources. She raised just over $23,000 — all from individual contributions — including $3,300 from far-right megadonor Robert Beadles.

A spreadsheet with fundraising information on the House candidates can be found here. Some donor and spending information follows:

NV-01:

Titus:

Biggest 2023 donor: EDW Hold the House Fund (a fundraising organization that supports Democratic women)

Notable donors: MGM Resorts International Political Action Committee, EMILY’s List, Desert Caucus, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers

Where does the campaign like to eat in Nevada? The Sand Dollar Lounge, The Garden

Larsen:

Biggest 2023 donor: Himself

Notable donors: Lots of sizable donations from individuals in Southern California

NV-02:

Amodei:

Biggest 2023 donor: MGM Resorts, New York Life Insurance, Sierra Nevada Corp., Tomorrow is Meaningful PAC (Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Notable donors: U.S. Travel Association, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers, Hotel PAC, Caesars Entertainment, Raytheon

Where does the campaign like to eat in Nevada? Garibaldi’s, Peppermill Biscotti’s, Mangia Tutto Pizzeria e Ristorante, Toki Ona

Amodei’s campaign account has also made donations to several frontline Republican members of Congress and county-level Republican parties in Nevada.

NV-03:

Lee:

Biggest donor: Dixon Davis Media Consulting

Notable donors: NV Energy, NEA Fund for Children & Public Education, CHC BOLD PAC, Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee, New York Life Insurance, EMILY’s List, Verizon, AmeriPAC (Steny Hoyer)

Where does the campaign like to eat in Nevada? Ethel M Chocolates, DW Bistro, Tacotarian

Helgelien:

Biggest donor: Scott Noble, Robert Beadles

What consultants is she working with?: McShane LLC, which has done campaigns for PK O’Neill and Jim Hindle. Winning congressional candidates include Republican Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and David Schweikert in Arizona and Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA), who flipped a Democratic seat last cycle.

NV-04:

Horsford:

Biggest donor: PAC to the Future (Pelosi)

Notable donors: Unite Here Tip Campaign Committee, Truist Financial Corp, New Democrat Coalition, Comcast & NBC Universal, Chevron Employees, Sierra Nevada Corp., CVS Health, Progressive Turnout Project, Capital One, AT&T

Where does the campaign like to eat in Nevada?: Starbucks, The Pepper Club, Del Frisco’s, Cork & Thorn, Best Meat Co., Classic Jewel, Triple George Grill, Westside Bistro

Flippo:

Biggest donor: Himself

Notable donors: Several family members in Nevada, Virginia and Alabama

What consultants is he working with? McShane LLC, which has done campaigns for PK O’Neill and Jim Hindle. Winning congressional candidates include Republican Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and David Schweikert in Arizona and Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA), who flipped a Democratic seat last cycle.

Just Checking In

This is a new segment where I’ll provide short briefs on how the delegation is responding to the national and Nevada-specific news driving the week.

The debt limit

Speaker Kevin McCarthy has delivered an opening salvo in the debt limit standoff — if he can get his caucus to support it.

McCarthy’s bill would extend the debt limit for a year in exchange for a veritable treasure trove of Republican priorities — capping spending growth at 1 percent annually for 10 years, imposing stricter work requirements on social programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, adding work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, repealing several clean-energy policies that Democrats enacted last year, instituting a package of energy reforms that would ease permitting and weaken environmental protections, revoking new funding for the Internal Revenue Service, and clawing back unspent pandemic funds. 

Early indications among House Republicans are positive — with support from both moderates who represent districts carried by President Joe Biden in 2020 and the far-right House Freedom Caucus, which had been a thorn in his side during the lengthy battle for the speakership. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), a member of the pro-McCarthy Republican Governance Group, committed to supporting the bill.

Amodei said he hopes Republicans do not devolve into a “circular firing squad,” when interparty squabbles have killed other attempts to force cuts in the past and left Senate Republicans to do the bulk of negotiating.

McCarthy’s bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate, where Democrats control the chamber. Both Biden and Democrats in Congress have called for a clean debt ceiling raise. But Amodei wants House Republicans to show that they can coalesce around a proposal, thereby showing strength in negotiating.

“Whatever we pass off the floor isn’t gonna become law,” Amodei said. “I hope most of it does, but it isn’t. But if you don’t pass something off the floor, to try to change the discussion … I know how it ends up. It’s an emergency, and it’s all the elephants’ fault.”

House Democrats were unimpressed by McCarthy’s proposal. 

“You can’t cut veterans,” Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) said. “You can’t cut children. It’s kind of a nonstarter on our side.”

Any debt limit bill that passes the Senate needs 60 votes, necessitating some measure of bipartisanship in a chamber where Democrats control 51 seats. But what constitutes a passable bill in the Senate may be unpalatable to the vast majority of House Republicans, where tempers run hotter and where a wrong move by McCarthy — like bringing a bill to the floor that the House Freedom Caucus does not support — could trigger a motion to vacate the speaker.

The tricky politics of the situation has caused the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to release its own framework, which would pair a debt limit extension through the end of the year with the creation of an independent commission to make policy recommendations. If passed, the debt limit would again be extended until after the 2024 election.

Independent commissions have been tried before; the Bowles-Simpson Commission, created by President Barack Obama in 2010 to find long-term solutions to the debt, came up with a plan that raised taxes and cut spending — a political albatross that neither party could accept and that was soundly rejected in the House by 382 members.

Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV), a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, called the proposal a backstop option.

“Our first choice is for leadership to come to an agreement,” she said. “This is a proposal should they not.”

Mifepristone

Republicans have been mostly cagey or silent on the issue of abortion, as both abortion bans and a recent decision out of the Fifth Circuit revoking the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone have proven unpopular.

The Supreme Court, which has preserved access to the pill while the legal fight plays out, will weigh in on mifepristone. Amodei on Tuesday said he wanted to wait and see what comes out of the Court, but he said he believes abortion should be a states’ rights issue — making the original Roe v. Wade standard and this new ruling examples of federal overreach.

“I don’t like federal policy in stuff that has historically been states, even if I disagree with what the Nevada Legislature did [codifying the right to an abortion],” Amodei said in an interview. “I don’t want a federal rule, unless the FDA procedurally screwed up on something. But in terms of the policy, that should be a state thing.”

Nevada Democrats, meanwhile, have hammered Republicans on the issue, counting on the appeals process to block the order from proceeding. 

BLM conservation rule

A few weeks ago, I reported on a new proposed rule from the Department of the Interior that would elevate conservation to equal status on par with other land uses in the Bureau of Land Management.

Lee, who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee, said while she supports conservation as a goal, she was worried that the new rule could hamper clean-energy development on public lands at precisely the time that the Inflation Reduction Act seeks to ramp it up. She raised this concern with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland — who visited Nevada last week to dedicate the new Avi Kwa Ame National Monument — at a committee hearing on Interior’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

Haaland said the department is also committed to the administration’s broader clean-energy goals, and that while she predicts that the new rule could hamper new development in some cases, the intent is to prioritize conservation and renewable energy.

“We believe very strongly that conservation and clean energy go hand in hand on BLM lands,” Haaland said. “The rule does not intend to slow down any of these projects and, in fact, we are  like-minded that we do need to ramp up our clean energy projects. We’ve had many successful efforts on helping clean energy projects … it’s [about] placing them in the right areas [and] making sure that the stakeholders are at the table early on so that we have consensus going forward.

That sometimes will slow down the process when not everyone is on the same page,” Haaland continued. “[But] everything we do is in furtherance of a healthy environment, and those clean-energy projects are top of mind for us.”

Lee also asked Haaland about understaffing at the BLM. Haaland said that concern came up in car rides during her visit to Avi Kwa Ame, and that the president’s budget request will help the department expedite hiring. The process has been slow-moving, she said, because the department dealt with mass resignations and loss of expertise during the Trump administration.

Around the Capitol

Horsford traveled to Israel and Ghana Thursday night as part of a congressional trip led by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Titus is traveling with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and other Homeland Security Democrats to the Southern border in Brownsville and McAllen, Texas.

Both Cortez Masto and Rosen gave floor speeches slamming a GOP measure to block the Department of Veterans’ Affairs from providing abortion services to veterans.

The entire delegation sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking for stronger action from the public health agency on the Candida auris fungal outbreak in Southern Nevada, the largest such outbreak in the country. Over 1,100 cases have been reported in the state. C. auris is a yeast causing serious infections.

Lee introduced bicameral legislation with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to fully fund the Title I education program and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act for 10 years.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Secure Rural Schools program is sending more than$3.4 million to Nevada to support rural schools and infrastructure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Amodei said if a TikTok ban comes to the floor, he would vote for it.

Rosen introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to expand cybersecurity cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. military, in order to thwart cyberattacks from China.

Notable and Quotable

“The [Bureau of Land Management] was one of the hardest hit areas in the Department of Interior during the last administration. Hundreds and hundreds of people resigned, and it’s difficult to staff up.”

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, on staffing challenges at the Bureau of Land Management

Legislative Tracker

CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO

Legislation sponsored:

S.1221 — A bill to require the administrator of the Small Business Administration to provide awards to recognize state and local governments that improve the process of forming a new business, and for other purposes.

S.1222 — A bill to require the administrator of the Small Business Administration to encourage entrepreneurship training in after school programs, and for other purposes.

Legislation co-sponsored:

S.1171 — A bill to amend chapter 131 of title 5, United States Code, to prevent members of Congress and their spouses and dependent children from trading stocks and owning stocks, and for other purposes.

S.Res.159 — A resolution recognizing the designation of the week of April 11-17 as the sixth annual “Black Maternal Health Week” to bring national attention to the maternal health crisis in the United States and the importance of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women and birthing persons.

S.Res.161 — A resolution designating the week of April 22-30 as National Park Week.

S.1193 — A bill to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports, and for other purposes.

S.1206 — A bill to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to protect civil rights and otherwise prevent meaningful harm to third parties, and for other purposes.

S.1207 — A bill to establish a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, and for other purposes.

S.1231 — A bill to prohibit disinformation in the advertising of abortion services, and for other purposes.

S.1246 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to strengthen the drug pricing reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act.

JACKY ROSEN

Legislation sponsored:

S.1241 — A bill to enhance and expand cooperation between the Department of Defense and the Government of Taiwan.

Legislation co-sponsored:

S.Res.159 — A resolution recognizing the designation of the week of April 11-17 as the sixth annual “Black Maternal Health Week” to bring national attention to the maternal health crisis in the United States and the importance of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women and birthing persons.

S.Res.161 — A resolution designating the week of April 22-30 as National Park Week.

S.1179 — A bill to provide for the restoration of legal rights for claimants under Holocaust-era insurance policies.

S.1204 — A bill to allow veterans to use, possess or transport medical marijuana and to discuss the use of medical marijuana with a physician of the Department of Veterans Affairs as authorized by a state or Indian tribe, and for other purposes.

S.Res.167 — A resolution recognizing the 30th anniversary of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

DINA TITUS

Legislation sponsored:

H.R.2729 — To establish a commission to study how federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries.

Legislation co-sponsored:

H.R.2673 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to restore the deduction for research and experimental expenditures.

H.R.2682 — To allow veterans to use, possess or transport medical marijuana and to discuss the use of medical marijuana with a physician of the Department of Veterans Affairs as authorized by a state or Indian tribe, and for other purposes.

 H.R.2689 — To improve the service delivery of agencies and public perception of agency interactions, and for other purposes.

H.Res.309 — Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to approve drugs for abortion care.

H.R.2715 –— To require full funding of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

H.R.2725 — To amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to protect civil rights and otherwise prevent meaningful harm to third parties, and for other purposes.

H.R.2736 — To prohibit disinformation in the advertising of abortion services, and for other purposes.

H.R.2742 — To amend the Animal Welfare Act to provide for greater protection of roosters, and for other purposes.

H.R.2745 — To amend title 28, United States Code, to allow claims against foreign states for unlawful computer intrusion, and for other purposes.

H.R.2760 — To provide standards for facilities at which aliens in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security are detained, and for other purposes.

H.R.2763 — To require the secretary of Health and Human Services to improve the detection, prevention and treatment of mental health issues among public safety telecommunicators.

H.R.2766 — To support the human rights of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups residing primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and safeguard their distinct identity, and for other purposes.

MARK AMODEI

Legislation co-sponsored:

H.R.2742 — To amend the Animal Welfare Act to provide for greater protection of roosters, and for other purposes.

H.R.2743 — To amend the Federal Reserve Act to prohibit certain financial service providers who deny fair access to financial services from using taxpayer funded discount window lending programs, and for other purposes.

SUSIE LEE

Legislation sponsored:

H.R.2715 — To require full funding of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Legislation co-sponsored:

H.R.2725 — To amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to protect civil rights and otherwise prevent meaningful harm to third parties, and for other purposes.

STEVEN HORSFORD

Legislation co-sponsored:

H.R.2715 — To require full funding of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The post D.C. Download: 2023 first quarter congressional fundraising recap appeared first on The Nevada Independent.

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