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Happy Friday morning.
The new House Democratic leadership team is hitting the road together to raise money, a high-profile rollout for the “New Three.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar – joined by DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene – have kicked off a national fundraising tour, the opening foray in what will be a multi-billion dollar fight for control of the chamber in 2024.
On Thursday, the three leaders briefed Democratic donors in Boston. Jeffries had his own separate fundraising event as well.
There will be events next week on the West Coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, DelBene’s territory. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi will join the California stops.
The quartet will finish the trip with a stop in Chicago before returning to Washington.
This early tour could help assuage doubts in Democratic circles over whether the new leadership team will be able to come close to matching Pelosi’s mega fundraising hauls. Former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn – who is still serving in leadership, although in a less high-profile role – also raked in millions of dollars each cycle.
“It’s all hands on deck. Nancy Pelosi is the most significant fundraiser for House Democrats in American history, so it’s all hands on deck,” Jeffries told us of the new strategy.
Pelosi raised more than $1 billion for Democrats during her 20 years in leadership, according to her team. And while Pelosi isn’t going away, she certainly won’t be as closely involved in party fundraising this cycle.
To help offset this, Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar will be hitting the road aggressively and often, we’re told. Jeffries also has retained several key Pelosi advisers to ensure Democrats stay apace in the money chase this cycle.
Top Pelosi fundraiser Mike Smith will run House Majority PAC, the leadership-affiliated super PAC, this cycle. Dan Boysen, the DCCC’s national finance director, is expected to stay on for another cycle, we’re told.
Jeffries has also hired two top Pelosi fundraising consultants, Terri New, who runs Capital Strategies in California, and Jackie Brot Weinberg, who focuses on New York fundraising, as we previously reported.
The amount of money that will be poured into House races during the next two years will be enormous. Donors also will be pressed to support presidential and Senate campaigns.
The incoming House Democratic leadership wants to put up a strong first quarter to demonstrate they can win the five seats needed to take back the majority. This is especially important to party activists as Senate Democrats face a very difficult map in 2024.
The DCCC raked in $360 million during the last cycle, while House Majority PAC raised another $181 million. The NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund took in a combined $547 million. House candidates raised another $1.8 billion, according to the FEC.
— Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon has committed to hiring 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2024 and providing free skills training so they can find high-paying and long-term careers, regardless of prior experience.
Along with free skills training, veterans and military spouses working at Amazon have access to fellowships, mentorships, military spouse support, and deployment benefits.
THE MONEY GAME
Team McCarthy hauls in the cash
Speaker Kevin McCarthy is known as one of the best fundraisers in Washington. And fresh off his successful – albeit drama filled – campaign for speaker, Team McCarthy is back at it again. Jeff Miller, a close McCarthy friend and ally who’s now a lobbyist, is hosting a big dinner reception for McCarthy at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in D.C. on Feb. 7.
The co-host list is a “who’s who” of the House Republican Conference. Literally the entire GOP leadership and every committee chair is co-hosting the dinner, which is being held in honor of McCarthy’s ascension to the speaker’s chair.
Want to attend? You’ll have to fork over a cool $50,000 (either contributing or raising that amount). Want to be a co-host? That’ll be $100,000. And a host? $250,000.
The proceeds go to the McCarthy Victory Fund, the speaker’s joint fundraising committee with his reelection campaign, his leadership PAC (McPAC) and the NRCC. Check out the full invite here.
– Max Cohen
Biden, the special counsel and the politics of investigating a president
President Joe Biden is under investigation.
Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to appoint Robert Hur – a former U.S. attorney – as special counsel to probe Biden’s handling of classified material has political and policy upsides for the investigation-hungry House Republicans. And it’s already proving to be an embarrassing distraction for the White House. How much worse it will get for Biden remains to be seen.
The political dynamics: There’s a lot that still needs to be filled in about the Biden situation. But it appears that what he’s alleged to have done is substantively different from former President Donald Trump’s behavior.
Trump is accused of resisting repeated efforts by the Justice Department and National Archives to retrieve dozens of classified documents he had stored at Mar-a-Lago. This standoff led to the unprecedented search of Trump’s residence by FBI agents last August, an incident that’s being actively litigated in federal court.
Trump, in fact, is under federal criminal investigation in both the document case and for his actions leading up to and during the Jan. 6 insurrection, so the scale of his legal problems far outweigh what Biden faces.
Biden’s team, on the other hand, says he’s fully cooperating with DOJ.
Yet these newly disclosed document finds date back to Biden’s days as vice president – a period in which he had limited declassification authority. As president, Trump could declassify whatever he chose, although the record of him having done so in the Mar-a-Lago case is sketchy.
This difference, however, lends some valuable political ammo to House GOP investigations, which are spinning up in earnest this week.
Furthermore, Republicans are already signaling that they’re going to probe how the DOJ handled both cases. Here’s Speaker Kevin McCarthy:
“We’re finding out now, after being sworn in, that this was discovered before the election. Another faux pas by the Biden administration by treating law differently based upon your political beliefs. [The administration] treats one – President Trump – one way but treats President Biden a whole different way.
“That’s why we had to provide a new entity from our Church style [committee] to look after the weaponization of what’s gone on … you want an equal playing of the law to all Americans.”
Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said in a statement that Biden and his team will cooperate with Hur, the special counsel, adding: “We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the president and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake.”
The investigative downside: Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel likely means that many, if not all, of Congress’ oversight demands may go unanswered.
As we first reported, special counsel Jack Smith, who is handling the dual Trump investigations, has been rebuffing even the most basic requests from congressional entities responsible for oversight of the intelligence community. That’s likely to be the case with Hur too.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) told us he didn’t think Smith’s concerns were “valid,” while his GOP counterpart Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) said DOJ has “no right to deny us access” to the materials and “we’re not asking to interfere” in the probe.
Although DOJ’s posture has frustrated Democrats and Republicans alike, it’s a reality of the special counsel appointment — and a long-standing point of tension between Congress and the executive branch.
For example, when the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee tried to obtain information from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump, the panel was consistently told to pound sand. Perhaps the highest-profile legal fight came when the committee sued to get its hands on Mueller’s grand jury material.
At the time, the Judiciary Committee told the courts that it needed to have that information because it was considering whether to launch impeachment proceedings. Of course, we’re a far cry from that when it comes to the documents found at Biden’s home.
In this case, lawmakers, particularly those in the Gang of 8, believe strongly that their intelligence oversight responsibilities should trump any concerns about compromising the integrity of the ongoing investigations.
– Andrew Desiderio, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon’s commitment to the military community includes the military spouse fellowship, which provides professional training, networking, and hands-on job experience.
THE NEW THREE
Dems vote en masse for Republican bills
The New Three? How about the “Open-Minded Three?”
House Democrats voted en masse for two Republican priorities this week, backing the GOP creation of a select subcommittee on competition with the Chinese Communist Party, as well as a messaging bill on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Both initiatives received more than 100 votes each from House Democrats. Notably, Democratic leadership didn’t whip against the measures. Aides said the GOP initiatives didn’t run counter to Democratic values, so members were free to vote as they wanted. And with Democrats narrowly in the House minority, both votes can be seen as the party best positioning itself to reclaim the chamber in 2024.
The lack of a formal whip operation opposing the select committee and petroleum reserve bills is also indicative of a more flexible approach from the new House Democratic leadership.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark and House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar have already been applauded by colleagues for their approachability and desire to include more rank-and-file members in top-level decisions.
It’s also important to note that the two proposals are largely non-controversial measures that deal with combating China.
The China select committee resolution didn’t contain any overtly partisan language. And for many Democrats — such as China hawks Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi — speaking out against human rights abuses perpetrated by the CCP has been a long-time priority.
Jeffries noted in a statement after the vote that House Democrats are ready to “firmly speak out” if the “committee devolves into extreme MAGA Republican talking points that further anti-Asian hate crimes in this country.”
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve bill was similarly non-partisan. The legislation prevents the Department of Energy from selling oil from the SPR to any entity controlled by the CCP.
— Max Cohen
THE MEET UP
Last night, we hosted members of our Premium community at Sazerac House for an evening of cocktails and conversation. Thank you to Elizabeth Wise and Laura Pinsky of Sazerac for hosting us.
Raising a glass: Ashley Lerner of GM, Brandy Jackson of American Investment Council, Brian Pomper of Akin Gump, Heidi Nel of New Theory Ventures, David Reid of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Lisa Kountoupes and David Peluso of Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, Jeyben Castro of the House Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Amanda Coyne of the office of Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Alexandra Bell of the House Budget Committee, and Lauren French from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) office, among others.
Want to attend our next community event? Become a Premium member today!
9:00 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
11:15 a.m.: Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the White House for a working lunch and bilateral meeting.
12:30 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre and Keisha Lance Bottoms will brief.
1:45 p.m.: Biden departs the White House en route to New Castle, Delaware. He will arrive at 2:40 p.m.
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon supports veterans and military spouses with free skills training.
“Western Tanks Appear Headed to Ukraine, Breaking Another Taboo,” by Lara Jakes and Steven Erlanger
“New Rule Could Give House Lawmakers a Tax-Free $34,000 Pay Bump,” by Stephanie Lai and Reid J. Epstein
“Congress Ramps Up Pressure to Kick Out Bolsonaro as US Bides Time,” by Courtney McBride
“At least 7 dead as severe winds, tornadoes hammer US South,” by Kim Chandler and Jeff Martin
“House GOP tempts fall government shutdown with impossible spending demands,” by Caitlin Emma and Connor O’Brien
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon’s free skills training helps veterans and military spouses move into higher-paying, in-demand careers.
Diversity of experience strengthens the workforce, that’s why Amazon offers a wide variety of programs to assist service members and military spouses to find rewarding, high-paying careers.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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