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Happy Tuesday morning.
One of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s biggest strengths as a party leader has been her ability to raise money. Pelosi’s team estimates she’s raked in more than $1 billion for Democratic campaign efforts during her 20 years as party leader. That financial edge helped propel Pelosi into the Democratic leadership initially, and it helped keep her there as well.
The DCCC and House Majority PAC, the leadership-affiliated super PAC, took in $480 million through mid-October, according to FEC records.That doesn’t include the hundreds of millions of dollars that individual candidates and incumbents raised, often with help from Pelosi, President Joe Biden and other senior Democrats.
But will losing Pelosi as a fundraiser hurt House Democrats in the money game? What about no longer having Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn as part of the triumvirate running the Democratic Caucus?
Can the new House Democratic leadership team of Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar woo the big-money donors that Democrats will need to take back the House in 2024?
And most importantly, can they do it all in a presidential election cycle, with Senate Democrats also desperate to hold onto their own razor-thin majority in what could be a rough landscape for them?
The 52-year-old Jeffries will face intense scrutiny on this front. As the next House Democratic leader, Jeffries must step onto the national stage while at the same time replacing an icon.
During his decade-long congressional career, Jeffries’ biggest donors include the securities and financial services industries, real estate companies and pro-Israel groups, according to Open Secrets, the campaign finance watchdog. Jeffries’ former law firm – Paul, Weiss – has been his biggest source of individual contributions.
Jeffries will also have to make peace with progressives, especially if he wants to fundraise from them. Jeffries hasn’t shied away from clashing with progressives, even at times referring to them derisively as the “far left.”
Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn will still be in office, with Clyburn remaining at the leadership table. But how active they will be on the fundraising front remains to be seen.
→ The overview. Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar are very able fundraisers. Internal DCCC documents we got our hands on paint a picture of just how much they have raised for the party.
Jeffries, in New York this week for Thanksgiving, paid $1.35 million in dues to the DCCC, which is far more than the $575,000 he was expected to give.
Clark shelled out $1 million in dues, which exceeds her $700,000 assessment. The Massachusets Democrat also raised $6.2 million for the party and has given or raised $4.3 million for Frontline and Red-to-Blue candidates.
Aguilar also gave $1 million in dues; he was expected to give $575,000. Aguilar raised $7.7 million for the DCCC and has raised or given $6.4 million for Frontline and Red-to-Blue members.
→ The totals. Jeffries’ team said he’s raised $17.6 million this cycle. This includes $6.1 million that he has raised for candidates and colleagues and $1.1 million given to candidates and incumbents.
→ Jeffries’ team. Jeffries has been quietly assembling a large-scale political operation all cycle, cognizant that he could be the top Democrat whenever Pelosi stepped aside.
To that end, Jeffries has hired two of Pelosi’s fundraising consultants: Capital Strategies, which specializes in California fundraising, and Jackie Brot Weinberg, who focuses on New York fundraising. Weinberg’s JBW Consulting also works for House Majority PAC, the House Democratic super PAC, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
This was purposeful by Team Jeffries. The New York Democrat hired Pelosi-linked fundraisers so he could be introduced to the speaker’s donor network early. Jeffries’ PAC also uses the Strathdee Group.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a close ally of Jeffries and one of the chamber’s most prolific fundraisers, will be helping the incoming Democratic leader get to know to new groups of donors. Here’s Gottheimer:
“Hakeem is already pulling together a fundraising team to build on the relationships and work he has done over the last years to help hit the ground running — and I’m proud to help. He delivered big for members this cycle, more than $17 million, and, as leader, his national network will only grow stronger.”
→ The built-in advantage. Jeffries and the new House Democratic leadership may have a good argument to make to donors in 2024. House Republicans will have somewhere between a two to four-seat majority next year. Democrats would only have to win in districts carried by Biden in order to take back the speaker’s gavel.
Will Jeffries and his leadership team immediately raise what Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn did? Probably not. But money follows power. Democratic donors will give to Democratic candidates and committees no matter who’s running the caucus.
What to watch: Jeffries first quarter 2023 filing. He’s not going to be expected to raise big leader-level money in the final quarter of 2022. But lawmakers will look at Jeffries’ January-through-March numbers carefully.
→ What about super PACs? Even though House Democrats performed better than many expected on Election Day, they trailed badly in outside spending. The House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund raised more than $244 million this cycle, while House Majority PAC, which supports House Democrats, raised $156 million.
We expect the New Three will consider a stronger embrace of HMP and help them raise money more than the previous leadership team.
– Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle
NEW: We will interview Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. ET in a one-on-one virtual conversation about the importance of privacy and security in new and existing technologies. This is the third event in a three-part series, “Building Trust in Technology,” presented by Trusted Future. Fireside chat details to be announced. RSVP here!
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McHenry’s big plans for House Financial Services Committee
North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, the expected chair of the House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress, has spent years preparing for the job. And now McHenry will be in a critical spot as the U.S. economy grapples with rapid technological change and global instability.
McHenry has served on the panel since coming to Congress in 2005. Since 2018, he’s been the top Republican, serving opposite Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
McHenry has strong ties to the GOP leadership. He served as chief deputy whip last time Republicans held the House. But he passed on a run for Republican whip this year, choosing to pursue the Financial Services gavel instead.
McHenry settled nicely into the role of foil to Democrats on the committee, frequently blasting them and the White House for being blasé about inflation. And he has laid significant groundwork for an oversight campaign that will target financial regulators in the 118th Congress.
But McHenry has also worked in a bipartisan manner with Democrats on the panel. The McHenry-Waters bill to create a federal framework for stablecoins, a core crypto product, is one of D.C.’s most fully-developed pieces of legislation targeting the digital asset sector today. Expect more of that in 2023.
Here’s what McHenry told us about the approach he’ll take to working with Democrats:
“The attempt needs to be made for a bipartisan outcome with a Republican House, Democrat Senate and a Democrat White House. Inevitably, whatever policy gets through has to have bipartisan support, right?”
→ Policy priorities: McHenry listed four areas he’ll focus the HFSC’s attention in 2023: executive oversight, capital formation, financial data privacy reform and crypto policy.
Oversight is a no brainer. McHenry and many other House Republicans believe Biden-era regulators have been too aggressive. Expect Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler to be a key target due to the agency’s focus on climate-related rulemaking.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra, who has expanded key regulatory definitions without much public or industry input – such as what constitutes an “unfair” financial practice – will also be a top target for the panel.
McHenry is keenly interested in capital formation. Financial Services Republicans celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in April, and McHenry would like to pursue some kind of encore. (Senate Banking Republicans released a discussion draft they call the JOBS Act 4.0 you can read about here.)
On crypto, McHenry holds a unique position.
Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee and financial policy heavyweight, is retiring this year. His successor – Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) – is a relatively blank slate in crypto. Senate Banking Committee Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has signaled he’s bearish on the need for digital asset legislation.
In the near-term, we expect to see developments around stablecoins and early stage outlines for broader digital asset legislation.
→ Downtown download: McHenry already has an extensive lineup of K Street contacts who have departed his Capitol Hill operation. At the top of this list is Parker Hamilton Poling of Harbinger DC, who served as McHenry’s chief of staff for more than a decade.
McHenry’s former staff director Stephen Cote, now at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, and Matt Bravo of the S-3 Group, former floor director for Minority Whip Steve Scalise, are key players in McHenry’s orbit.
There’s also Colin McCune, who just arrived at the venture capital fund a16z crypto to lead the firm’s U.S. government affairs; Matt Mulder, a director of U.S policy at payments fintech Stripe; and Jennifer Flitton, senior vice president of federal affairs at Invesco.
→ Money watch: McHenry has seen broad industry support in his fundraising, including from the American Bankers Association’s BankPAC, which has contributed more than $100,000 to the McHenry for Congress campaign committee since 2004.
There are also a handful of major donors to Team McHenry, a joint fundraising PAC. These include Bill Emerson, vice chairman of the parent company behind Rocket Mortgage and Quicken Loans; Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group; and Anderson Warlick, CEO of the North Carolina-based yarn manufacturer Parkdale Mills.
– Brendan Pedersen
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DelBene talks leadership change, data privacy and more
We sat down with Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) on Monday to discuss the role of trust in technological development and areas where a divided Congress could come together next year.
Here are the key takeaways:
→ DelBene hailed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s career as “historic” while welcoming the opportunity for new players to take on new responsibilities after 20 years of her leadership.
“We have incredible leaders throughout our caucus and I think an opportunity for us to see a lot of people participate in ways maybe they haven’t before. I think that will be healthy for the organization.”
→ DelBene sees some areas for bipartisanship in the 118th Congress but said lawmakers should address the debt ceiling during the lame-duck session. Pelosi has raised this idea as well, but Senate Republicans are opposed.
DelBene argued that Congress should raise the debt ceiling before the end of the year because “we shouldn’t be risking the full faith of our federal government and finances of our federal government to try to use as a lever for other types of policy.”
→ DelBene says Congress should push for “broad” data privacy reform for “all sensitive information.”
Some lawmakers have suggested that a more narrow bill that targets the data privacy of children or women could be an easier sell for Capitol Hill, but DelBene pushed back, arguing there were too many problems at the national level to pursue smaller packages.
“I think it’s important that we do it and cover children, cover women, cover everyone. And so I think we have the opportunity to do broad, strong foundational policy. And I think that’s the right thing to do…
“There are so many vulnerabilities for our communities across the board. But clearly, that policy would also be important to covering and making sure children are protected [and] that information is protected.”
Afterward, we were joined by Trusted Future’s Co-Chair Jim Kohlenberger and Advisory Board Member Edward “Smitty” Smith for a fireside chat.
→ Kohlenberger said leading antitrust legislation is “not really fully cooked yet” and warned of potential consequences.
“So in these competition and antitrust bills, you know, [they’re] certainly well intentioned, but senators have warned that they’re not really fully cooked yet. That they could supercharge harmful content or impede critical privacy or security online.
“And we need to carefully review all legislation and make sure that it advances privacy, safety and security.”
Kohlenberger emphasized the need for “all technology legislation to improve trust” and argued that companies who took strides to boost digital trust with their consumers on their own had a “competitive advantage.”
→ Smith said that there was no one-size-fits-all approach to that task, and that different communities would require distinct approaches.
“The ability of all of us to participate fully in a digital ecosystem – it’s increasingly critical to our economy, our national security, overall public well being. And so it’s important to have different approaches to addressing trust in different communities, because they need different solutions.”
Check out the full event here.
– Brendan Pedersen and Donna Baeck
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News: Susie Lee proposes Dem ‘Battleground’ leadership position
Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) is pushing for House Democrats to add a Battleground Leadership Representative to the party’s top ranks.
Lee, a Frontline Democrat who survived a tough reelection campaign, said in a letter that Frontliners deserve a seat at the Democratic leadership table.
The Battleground Leadership Representative would be elected by Frontline and newly elected Red-to-Blue members and mentor new battleground members, according to Lee’s proposal.
Lee’s push comes after a cycle when many Frontliners felt frustrated with Democratic leaders. Frontliners continuously called on leadership to bring more bills dealing with inflation and crime to the floor ahead of the midterms. There was also widespread consternation with DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who steered resources into his own race during the home stretch. SPM eventually lost to a GOP challenger.
Democratic Reps. Susan Wild (Pa.), Annie Kuster (N.H.), Andy Kim (N.J.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Teresa Leger Fernandez (N.M.), Colin Allred (Texas), Mike Levin (Calif.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.), Lizzie Fletcher (Texas), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Haley Stevens (Mich.), Veronica Escobar (Texas) and Debbie Dingell (Mich.) are also signed on to the letter.
— Max Cohen
→ Republican Herschel Walker is running an ad about Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) apartment buildings in Georgia. Walker accuses Warnock of mismanaging the properties and allowing dismal conditions to fester. The spot is running in Columbus, Ga., ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff election.
→ Curious how Democrats are viewing the 2024 House map? Here’s a list of districts the party is targeting as flip opportunities in two years time, courtesy of a post-election memo from House Majority PAC:
AZ-01, AZ-06, CA-27, CA-40, CA-41, CA-45, IA-03, MI-10, NE-02, NJ-07, NY-01, NY-03, NY-04, NY-17, NY-19, NY-22, OR-05, PA-01 and VA-02.
— Jake Sherman and Max Cohen
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10:15 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily briefing.
11:30 a.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Covid-19 adviser Dr. Ashish Jha will brief.
5:50 p.m.: The Bidens will leave the White House for Andrews, where they will fly to Nantucket.
7:30 p.m.: The Bidens will arrive in Nantucket.
→ “How to Spend $1 Trillion? Mitch Landrieu Wants a Say,” by Zolan Kanno-Youngs in Elm City, N.C.
→ “From Europe, Trump special counsel takes over Mar-a-Lago, Jan. 6 probes,” by Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein
→ “Iran Expands 60% Uranium Enrichment in Rebuke to UN Inspectors,” by Patrick Sykes and Arsalan Shahla
→ “Georgia runoff: Why one Senate seat is crucial for Democrats,” by Mary Clare Jalonick
→ “GOP downplays its Trump wing on the world stage,” by Andrew Desiderio in Halifax, Nova Scotia
→ “Saturday voting upheld in Georgia U.S. Senate runoff,” by Mark Niesse
→ “Obama to hold Dec. 1 runoff rally for Warnock in Atlanta,” by Greg Bluestein
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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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