Amidst the continuing fallout from the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol, many corporate PACs have made promises - at least in the short term - to withhold funds from members of Congress that voted against certifying the Presidential election results.
There were eight Republican members of the Senate that did this, along with 139 members of the House, a group that has become known as the “Sedition Caucus.” Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) was one of them, and just a week after the riot he took over as Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the primary fundraising vehicle for Senate Republicans.
Scott ran unopposed to become Chair in November, and according to a January 13, 2020 NRSC video featuring Scott, his job is to “figure out how to raise roughly a gazillion dollars.”The NRSC raised almost $300m during the 2020 election cycle, and with 20 Republican incumbents on the ballot in 2022, Scott’s fundraising task is clear.
Since the Capitol riot, the newsletter Popular Information has been contacting corporations and asking if they’ll continue to give through their PACs to members of Congress - including Sen. Scott - who voted against certification. According to Popular Information many have said they will not, and that list includes “Walmart, Amazon, Disney, Verizon, GE, Airbnb, Comcast, Morgan Stanley, Nike, American Express, and Dell.”
If these statements are sincere, then Scott’s opposition to vote certification should pose a problem to his fundraising efforts for the NRSC.
The corporate statements have received significant media coverage, but there is increasing skepticism about what real impact this might have.
Meredith McGehee, the Executive Director of Issue One, a group that works to fix a range of problems in our political system, told The Hill:
“Honestly, I am dubious that it will last … our current system is pay-to-play politics, and most companies are eager to pay the price of admission because the federal government has such power over their bottom line.”
Here’s what the NRSC is offering donors
A set of NRSC materials sent to potential donors, copies of which were obtained by Documented, list the benefits that major donors can expect in return for their financial support in 2021. The more a donor gives, the more access they can expect…you know the deal.
Individual donors to the NRSC "Executive Chairman’s Circle,” who give at the $248,500 annual level, or can raise $1m for the NRSC, will get a “monthly one-on-one” with Sen. Rick Scott. They will also receive tickets to an annual dinner in D.C. with Scott, as well as invitations to numerous other retreats, dinners, roundtables, and monthly one-on-one strategy sessions with NRSC staff and advisors. Plus a whole bunch of NRSC swag: a jacket, a hat, and a cup!
The “Chairman’s Circle” level donors ($100,000 contribution, or raise $250,000) will receive a one-on-one meeting with Scott every quarter. Whereas the “Majority Makers” donors ($35,500 contribution, or raise $100,000), and the “Leader’s Roundtable” donors ($25,000 contribution, or raise $50,000) can meet quarterly with Scott, but not privately. You have to pay the really big bucks for the private meetings. Beyond this, lower level givers get less frequent meetings, less invitations to events, etc.
Here is the full breakdown:
PAC donors can expect similar access. The top level “Executive Member” donors, who give or raise $150,000 from a combination of PAC and executive contributions, receive the most access, including a quarterly one-on-one with Sen. Scott. Donors also receive access to a variety of other annual events and retreats, and they also get that NRSC branded jacket.
The maximum a corporate PAC alone can give to the NRSC is $105,000 per year. The NRSC has a membership level for PACs that max out, which is its “PAC MAX Membership.” These donors get a bi-annual one-on-one with Scott. Donors who give at the “Founders 60 membership” level ($60,000) receive a single annual one-on-one meeting with Scott. Then lower donors get less access, less invitations to events, no NRSC jacket.
Documented will continue to track this in the months ahead, and we will monitor FEC filings to see who has been paying for these memberships.