by ConservativeHQ.com Staff
Earlier this week we told you about how Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff had bluntly told a group of major donors that they should tell Capitol Hill’s Republican establishment that they would “…not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, No. 1. And No. 2, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”
More than one of those donors got the message.
According to an article in yesterday’s POLITICO, “Tensions reached a boiling point at a recent dinner at the home of Los Angeles billionaire Robert Day. In full view of around two dozen guests, Thomas Wachtell, a retired oil and gas investor and party contributor, delivered an urgent message to the night’s headliner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Just do something.”
“Anybody who was there knew that I was not happy. And I don’t think anybody was happy. How could you be?” Mr. Wachtell told POLITICO. Mr. Wachtell has previously given over $2,000 to McConnell but recently stopped donating to Senate GOP causes. “You’re never going to get a more sympathetic Republican than I am. But I’m sick and tired of nothing happening,” Wachtell said according to reporting by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt and Gabriel Debenedetti.
In what Isenstadt and Debenedetti called a “hard reality,” some of the GOP’s most elite and influential donors, who spent the past eight years plowing cash into the party’s coffers in hopes of accomplishing a sweeping conservative agenda and undoing Barack Obama’s legislative accomplishments, are closing their wallets because that agenda is at a standstill.
“When you’re in a business and you tell your stakeholders you’re going to build a building or something, you have to follow through,” Houston-based energy executive Dan Eberhart told Isenstadt and Debenedetti. “I can’t borrow money to build a building and then not follow through, which is what these guys are doing.” Mr. Eberhart told the reporters he’s spoken to four Republican senators over the past month to express his displeasure, mostly over the party’s failure to repeal Obamacare.
Isenstadt and Debenedetti report other donors are giving lawmakers an earful as well. Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa agribusiness mogul who has funded a long list of Republican elected officials, said he had informed his state’s two GOP senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, that he would not donate to Republican senators “unless they pass new legislation or get new leadership.”
And the donor rebellion seems to be growing.
One seasoned GOP fundraiser forwarded along to Isenstadt and Debenedetti a curt email from a sought-after donor. “The GOP leaders should know, no movement on remaining agenda: tax reform, infrastructure, deregulation, etc. means no funding from supporters like me,” it read. “No meetings, calls, contributions until we see progress.”
“I think major donors are tired of writing checks to a do-nothing Congress,” Roy Bailey, an influential, Dallas-based GOP bundler told Isenstadt and Debenedetti.
Michael Salzhauer, a New York real estate investor, also told Isenstadt and Debenedetti he had begun informing lawmakers that he’s done giving until they address health care and taxes.
“To miss that opportunity,” he said, “is totally irresponsible.”
But it’s not just the legislative failures that have turned-off the major donors, its McConnell’s culture of cronyism and corruption, too.
“They blew all of their resources in Alabama for basically nothing,” said Mr. Eberhart, who has donated to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which backed appointed incumbent Senator Luther Strange. Not to be outdone in wasting resources, a McConnell-aligned super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, also dropped more than $8 million in the losing effort to prop-up Strange.
The good news is, Isenstadt and Debenedetti report “some exasperated givers are turning to Steve Bannon, Trump’s hard-charging former chief strategist and a McConnell nemesis, to vent. Bannon met with several contributors who were in Washington this week for an RNC gala and has eagerly stepped into the role of donor-whisperer. He is looking to establish his own finance network to fund an effort to unseat Senate Republican incumbents in 2018.”
If you are tired of writing checks to a do-nothing Congress we urge you to give to FedUp PAC, Chaired by CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie, or directly to principled limited government constitutional conservatives like Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas or conservative Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio.
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