It sure doesn’t take Steve Daines long to find new opportunities to gather massive donations for the super-rich for his campaign. Just weeks after the Supreme Court issued its McCutcheon decision, which struck down limits on donations to party committees, Daines joined a group of Senate Republicans eager to get their hands on some sweet, unaccountable cash.
On April 15th, a group of 19 GOP Senate candidates, including Steve Daines, formed one of these giant new PACs. The Huffington Post reports:
Republicans registered their 2014 Senators Classic Committee on April 15, linking together 19 Republican candidates for Senate under one fundraising umbrella. The committee will be able to accept donations as high as $98,800 in one fell swoop from a single donor — twice as much as what was allowed prior to the Court’s ruling.
Bob Biersack, writing for the Open Secrets blog, explains why the McCutcheon ruling is so damaging to elections:
That would come to at least $1.2 million that one individual could give directly to parties in a cycle, plus nearly $2.5 million that could go directly to candidates, plus some uncertain amount sent to other PACs. And that doesn’t count whatever the person chose to give to super PACs and shadow money nonprofits. Both types of groups can continue to accept millions from a single donor to feed their efforts to elect or defeat federal candidates.
How might this work? The most popular way to get big checks from single donors so far has been through joint fundraising committees, which allows candidates to band together with parties and sometimes others to ask donors for one check that represents the limit to each of the participants. The Court’s action today likely will mean a surge in new joint fundraising committees and changes in existing ones to add many new participants so that a single check from a donor can surge past the $52,600 or so that is common today.
It’s too bad that Representative Daines doesn’t act with such haste when it comes to visiting Montanans affected by forest fires, opening our national parks and restoring vital services, or even putting a calendar online for constituents. The only thing that seems to get Steve Daines moving quickly is the prospect of more cash from the people he’s paid to represent in D.C.