Federal Politics

Published — April 22, 2014 Updated — May 27, 2014 at 11:23 am ET

‘Jumbo joints’: How big will the newest political animals get?

‘McCutcheon’ ruling empowers collective fundraising groups

Introduction

Expect this much from the U.S. Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling: New groups will emerge that allow big-time political donors to fund multiple candidate and party committees with a single check.

It’s not yet clear how prevalent these new “jumbo-joint fundraising committees” will become — or if lawmakers or regulators will take any steps to curb their newly granted powers.

But the nation’s largest Republican groups have already formed a new collective fundraising venture to amass money from wealthy donors, as Politico first reported.

Known as the “Republican Victory Fund,” the organization can solicit up to $97,200 per donor annually to benefit the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee.

Prior to McCutcheon, a donor could give no more than $74,600 combined to party committees over a two-year election cycle.

(Update, April 22, 2014, 2:40 p.m.: A “jumbo-joint fundraising committee” has also been created to benefit the campaigns of 19 Republican U.S. Senate candidate. The “2014 Senators Classic Committee” can solicit up to $98,800 per donor — double the amount allowed before the Supreme Court struck down the aggregate contribution limits.)

Democratic Party groups might also create new jumbo-joint fundraising committees to boost their own coffers and their most vulnerable candidates, to say nothing of keeping pace with their GOP counterparts.

For months, campaign finance reform groups have warned of a scenario in which lawmakers ask for $3.5 million donations through jumbo-joint fundraising committees to support every single candidate and national party committee on their side of the partisan divide.

During McCutcheon’s oral argument, Justice Samuel Alito dismissed such examples as a “wild hypotheticals.”

Nevertheless, Paul S. Ryan, an attorney at the Campaign Legal Center, is still concerned.

“Members of Congress will be soliciting big contributions from people with business before Congress,” said Ryan.

Kirk Jowers, a campaign finance attorney at Caplin & Drysdale, told the Center for Public Integrity that the use of joint fundraising committees will “absolutely proliferate” after McCutcheon.

But, he added, “I don’t think it’s going to be the huge earthquake that some predict.”

Prior to McCutcheon, a donor could not give the legal maximum to more than nine candidates before hitting one of the aggregate limits then set by federal law. Now, that restriction is gone, which illustrates why jumbo-joint fundraising committees could become attractive options.

Take the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: This November, Senate Democrats will be defending 21 seats, and political observers currently rank more than a dozen as potentially competitive.

Or assume, for instance, that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants to aid its most competitive candidates.

Currently, two dozen incumbents have been named by the DCCC to its “Frontline” program, which seeks to assist vulnerable incumbents. And there are another 35 candidates who are part of its “Red to Blue” program, which aims to boost competitive challengers.

If the DCCC created such a hypothetical jumbo-joint fundraising committee — or whatever you’d like to call such a group — it could accept contributions of roughly $340,000, even as each beneficiary receives no more than the “base” limit.

Likewise, the National Republican Congressional Committee could itself establish a similar effort.

There are currently 15 members of Congress who have been named to the NRCC’s “Patriots” program, which aids embattled incumbents, and there are more than six-dozen candidates who have emerged as potential contenders for its “Young Guns” program, which aids challengers.

Such a hypothetical jumbo-joint fundraising committee could receive contributions of more than $400,000 per donor per year.

While plausible, Dan Backer — the conservative attorney who helped Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon bring the campaign finance lawsuit that now bears his name — predicts that the number of jumbo-joint fundraising committees will be nominal.

“The administrative burdens are not linear and getting up to a level where you can distribute $250,000 is probably going to be more hassle than it’s worth,” Backer said.

History shows that politicians have been increasingly embracing joint fundraising committees, and the most prolific ones, in terms of financial success, have been tied to presidential candidates.

During the 2012 election, both President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney operated joint fundraising groups that often asked each donor to give $75,800 — the aggregate limit at the time. This money was then split between each man’s campaign and various national and state-focused party groups.

If they chose to, lawmakers could rein in jumbo-joint fundraising committees — although Backer predicts such a move would be unlikely.

“Congress can just do away with joint fundraising committees, or apply an aggregate limit on joint fundraising committee checks,” Backer continued. “But they won’t because it wouldn’t be in their best interest.”

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.