Republicans wrote and passed a tax bill for their donors and now they get to cash in, while working Americans still lose.
Politico: Big donors ready to reward Republicans for tax cuts
The checkbooks are open again, just in time for a challenging midterm election cycle.
By Maggie Stevens
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Republicans in Congress faced a near-mutiny last fall from some wealthy GOP donors frustrated with Washington’s inability to get anything done. Then they passed the tax bill.
Now the checkbooks are open again, the party's top bankrollers say — just in time for a challenging midterm election cycle.
Attendees at a weekend retreat here for donors and operatives affiliated with the political network helmed by brothers Charles and David Koch cited the GOP's legislative breakthrough last month as a main reason for their renewed optimism heading into the midterms. The sense that donors wouldn't reach for their wallets for the 2018 elections — frequent in the late summer and fall — has all but evaporated following the enactment of legislation overhauling the tax code, which delivered a number of long-standing conservative policy goals.
“Luckily, the Senate passed tax reform and someone came up with the brilliant idea of repealing the individual mandate — which essentially shoots a hole in the boat of [the Affordable Care Act] so it will die a slow, simple death,” Texas-based donor and fundraiser Doug Deason. “The gravy was drilling in [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], which Republicans have wanted forever.”
Deason, who was one such donor frustrated with the party's efforts, built a Lone Star State coalition of wealthy Republican donors last year who refused to give money to Washington Republicans until the gridlock broke in Congress. Pleased with the tax reform efforts, he said he’s since called off the strike.
There are signs spending is beginning to pick up among the donor class — even before tax reform was done. House Republicans cashed their first big checks of the midterm election cycle from Charles Koch and his wife, Elizabeth, shortly before the final tax bill cleared Congress. The pair donated close to $1 million at the end of November, campaign finance records show.
Within days of the tax bill passing the Senate, several other GOP donors started cutting checks too: Marlene Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill and coal magnate Joseph Craft each gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to House Republicans' committees after not making large donations to federal candidates for the first 11 months of the year.