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Joe Manchin donates to Republicans

Joe Manchin to start donating to Republicans

News: Just weeks after leaving the Democratic Party, Sen. Joe Manchin (I-W.Va.) will start donating money to centrist lawmakers — including Republicans.

Manchin will convert his leadership PAC — Country Roads PAC — into a multicandidate vehicle, according to a source familiar with the planning. Manchin will then make $5,000 donations to Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Jared Golden (D-Maine), along with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

A second group of contributions will likely include Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) and John Avlon, the former CNN host turned Democratic congressional candidate in Long Island, the source said. Curtis is the leading candidate in the Senate GOP primary in Utah. Both Curtis and Avlon have their primaries tonight (more on that below).

Manchin, first elected to the Senate in 2010, gave $10,000 to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) reelection campaign in October 2022. Manchin had endorsed her earlier that year.

But this new effort will be much broader and more sustained, marking a new era for Manchin. The 76-year-old Manchin isn’t running for reelection in November, although he insisted that his recent party switch doesn’t signal a new campaign.

Here’s Jon Kott, who will run the new PAC, on Manchin’s new effort:

Kott — Manchin’s former senior adviser and communications director — is now a principal at Capitol Counsel.

Country Roads PAC reported more than $1.1 million in cash on hand at the end of March, per FEC filings.

The bigger question is what will Manchin do with the $8.4 million left in his reelection campaign coffers. We’re told that the issue is still under review.

Manchin’s decision to start donating to Republicans isn’t that surprising given his recent statements on leaving the Democratic Party, as well as his longstanding criticism of the party’s shift to the left.

“Today, our national politics are broken and neither party is willing to compromise to find common ground,” Manchin said earlier this month. “To stay true to myself and remain committed to put country before party, I have decided to register as an independent with no party affiliation and continue to fight for America’s sensible majority.”

More Manchin to us recently:

Manchin, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resource Committee, endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for reelection in 2019, a move that garnered national headlines during the hyperpartisan Trump era.

Manchin is well-liked among Republicans, who credit him with helping save the filibuster when President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats tried to get rid of it in 2022. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), who also opposed eliminating the filibuster, is retiring as well.

Inherent contempt vote: Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) will push for a Friday vote on an inherent contempt resolution against Attorney General Merrick Garland, she told Fox News Monday night.

Garland has refused to turn over audiotapes of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s interviews with Biden from the classified document probe. The Justice Department has given congressional investigators transcripts of the interviews but not the recordings themselves, despite multiple subpoenas from House committees.

House Republican leaders pushed through a contempt resolution against Garland, yet the Justice Department, of course, won’t prosecute the sitting attorney general. So House Republicans have two choices: inherent contempt or going to federal court and suing Garland and DOJ.

Inherent contempt is a terrible idea, of course, no matter which party floats it to garner some headlines. There’s a reason it hasn’t been used since the 1930s. As the Congressional Research Services notes, it’s been described as “cumbersome, inefficient, and ‘unseemly.’”

All of this may be moot, however. Leadership aides in both parties say there are enough votes to table Luna’s resolution.

John Bresnahan and Andrew Desiderio

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