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Mike Johnson

Johnson is quietly working to build a donor list

Speaker Mike Johnson has launched a blitz to grow his donor list.

Here’s an example:

Since the beginning of November, Johnson has sent out two fundraising appeals for Rep. Jen Kiggans (Va.), one of the most endangered House Republicans.

One appeal says this:

But when a potential donor goes to shell out some money to Kiggans, 1% of the contribution is routed to “Mike Johnson for Louisiana,” the speaker’s reelection campaign.

Johnson takes a meaningless sliver of the contribution – 1% each time – but is then able to get access to the members’ donor lists for his own political purposes.

This tactic isn’t illegal or improper. But it highlights one of the realities of having a speaker with little to no political operation or assets. Johnson is relying on a broad swath of the House GOP to grow his national contact list to raise money.

Johnson’s predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, had his own national donor network that was developed over years in leadership positions. Johnson is having to do this overnight.

Other entities that are helping Johnson by issuing fundraising solicitations that steer 1% to Johnson, and by dint, give him access to the email list: the NRCC, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, the Republican National Committee and Reps. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).

Johnson’s political team didn’t respond to a request for comment.

As we reported Wednesday night, Johnson and McCarthy attended a Congressional Leadership Fund event with donors, the first time they’ve done such a session together. It was part of the GOP effort to introduce Johnson to donors, this time focused on wealthy supporters.

— Jake Sherman

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.