campaigns

Corporate PACs in Spotlight as Candidates Reject Their Money
So far, 85 primary winners are rejecting money from corporations

The candidates pledging not to accept corporate PAC money have mostly been Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corporate PACs have been thrust into the political spotlight as more Democratic candidates make rejecting corporate money a central theme of their campaigns. Seven of those congressional hopefuls won their primaries Tuesday.

Those results bring the total number of primary winners who are not accepting corporate PAC contributions to 85, according to the group End Citizens United, which supports an overhaul of the campaign finance system. These candidates are instead relying on donations from individuals and other groups.

Unions Line Up Behind Republican Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania House Race
Incumbent’s labor support complicates Democrats’ hopes of flipping seat

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., here at a 2017 town hall meeting in Bensalem, Pa., has the financial support of high-powered labor groups as he runs for a second term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a sign of trouble for Democrats’ hopes of flipping a Pennsylvania House seat, high-powered unions are pledging support for the Republican incumbent in the 1st District in suburban Philadelphia. 

Freshman Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has raised more than $200,000 from labor groups, dwarfing the $3,000 collected by his Democratic opponent, multimillionaire philanthropist Scott Wallace, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, attributing the numbers to OpenSecrets.org.

Goodlatte’s Son Pushes Democrat Running for Father’s Seat
Goodlatte is retiring at the end of his current term

House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s son announced he had donated the maximum amount to the Democratic candidate running to succeed his father and urged others to do the same.

Bobby Goodlatte announced in a tweet that he had donated  to Jennifer Lewis.

Amid Chris Collins Scandal, Pelosi Vows Ethics Overhaul Under Democratic Majority
Democrats also want to rewrite campaign finance laws

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says a Democratic majority would overhaul ethics and campaign finance laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pointing to New York Rep. Chris Collins’s indictment as an example of corruption in the Republican-controlled Congress, House Minority Nancy Pelosi vowed Thursday that if Democrats retake the House they will overhaul ethics and campaign finance laws. 

Collins was indicated on charges of securities fraud, which Pelosi said “shows that Republicans have turned the already swampy GOP Congress into a cesspool of self-enrichment, secret money and special interests.”

Federal Contractors Made Illegal Pro-Trump Super PAC Contributions, Complaint Says
Watchdog group wants FEC to investigate

Tourists from North Carolina don “Make America Great Again” hats in the Capitol Rotunda in March 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:43 p.m. | A politically connected contractor made a $500,000 contribution this spring to a pro-Trump super PAC the day after it received a payment of almost the same amount as part of a Department of Defense contract, a watchdog group said.

The Campaign Legal Center flagged that contribution and a $50,000 contribution from another company to a super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate campaign, in separate complaints to the Federal Election Commission filed Wednesday afternoon.

Turner and Democratic Challenger Fight Over FEC Complaint
Theresa Gasper says incumbent’s allegation is ‘over the top’

Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Democratic challenger Theresa Gasper saying she intentionally misled voters.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner is accusing his  Democratic challenger Theresa Gasper of misleading voters, which she says is overblown.

Turner’s complaint to the Federal Election Commission says Gasper “knowingly and intentionally misled the public for fundraising purposes,” the Dayton Daily News reported. 

Super PAC Spends More to Defend Democrats Than Attack Republicans
Senate Majority PAC is the biggest super PAC in the country

Democratic activists have dreams of winning majorities in both the House and Senate this year, but at least in the Senate, Democratic donors are largely playing defense.

The Power of Little Money Will Be Tested This Fall
Upstart groups look to oust incumbent Democrats they say are too tied to big donors

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in a New York primary last month, had the support of anti-big money groups. (Scott Heins/Getty Images file photo)

Democratic incumbents in Congress may face a future with a political money problem.

No, it’s not that they won’t have enough campaign cash — quite the opposite.

Ilhan Omar Accused of Misusing Campaign Cash for Divorce Lawyer
DFL endorsee to replace Rep. Keith Ellison would be first Muslim congresswoman

An attorney for DFL House candidate Ilhan Omar called accusations that her client used campaign funds for her divorce proceeding “absolutely false.” (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images file photo)

A fellow state legislator has accused the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer endorsee to replace outgoing Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota of illegally misusing campaign funds to pay her divorce lawyer.

Ilhan Omar, who earned the state party’s endorsement for Minnesota’s 5th District in June, paid $2,250 in legal fees in 2016 to Kjellberg Law Office, a firm specializing in family and divorce law.

Groups Call for Fed Crackdown on Lawmaker Slush Funds
Petition to FEC asks for clarification that steak dinners, golf outings are personal expenses

Members of Congress cast shadows on the first tee for a rules briefing for the First Tee Congressional Challenge golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md.. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Watchdog groups asked federal officials Tuesday to crack down on lawmakers who use certain fundraising accounts to finance their golf outings and steak lunches.

Leadership political action committees are meant to help Congress members raise money for their colleagues — thus helping them climb leadership ranks. Because those accounts aren’t subject to the same spending restrictions as the ones candidates use for their own campaigns, they are prone to eyebrow-raising spending activity, or “used as slush funds to subsidize officeholders’ lifestyles,” the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One wrote in a petition to the FEC.