House leaders have put more pressure on potential and current chairmen to raise money. Committee chairmen are asked to raise $250,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
When Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) announced his bid to chair the Appropriations Committee, his first move was to start a PAC. But Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), a less senior member of the committee and a more prodigious fundraiser, was selected by the GOP Steering Committee.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), whom House leaders dumped as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, was criticized for not raising enough money. Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), an Appropriations Committee “cardinal,” or subcommittee chairman, was told to collect more campaign money this year.
Goodlatte, who is regarded as a low-key, hardworking lawmaker, raked in nearly $800,000 for his 2004 race and nearly $350,000 came from agribusiness, according to data at opensecrets.org, a website that compiles campaign-finance data. He has more than $1 million in cash on hand but only raised $98,000 in the first quarter of 2005, a typically slow time in the fundraising cycle.
But several senior House GOP aides said it makes perfect sense that Goodlatte would start a PAC. First, besides the other committee chairmen serving on the Agriculture Committee, no other member has a PAC. Second, Goodlatte is the sixth ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee and has a chance to become chairman if he remains in the House.
Goodlatte’s PAC “was formed to help maintain the Republican majority in Congress and support Republican candidates in Virginia,” a spokesman for Goodlatte said.
Of the 21 House committee chairmen, only Reps. Doc HastingsDoc HastingsBoehner hires new press secretary GOP plots new course on Endangered Species Act reform GOP accuses feds of bad science in endangered species studies MORE (R-Wash.), Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) do not have PACs, even though House leaders have emphasized fundraising prowess when selecting chairmen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim SensenbrennerJames SensenbrennerFor suburban women, addiction is a key election issue Dems amp up charges of voter suppression in Wisconsin Top Republican warns of discrimination at the polls in November MORE (R-Wis.) shares a PAC with Rep. Tom PetriTom PetriDem bill would make student loan payments contingent on income Black box to combat medical malpractice Two lawmakers faulted, two cleared in House Ethics probes MORE (R-Wis.).
In the Senate, only three of 18 committee chairmen — Sens. John Warner (R-Va.), John McCainJohn McCainGroup hopes to have independent candidate by end of July Poll: Trump gets 1 percent support among black voters Cutting corners in a federal campaign is criminal MORE (R-Ariz.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — do not have political action committees, according to data at politicalmoneyline.com.
This weekend’s fundraiser is also unique because Blunt and Goodlatte are following in the footsteps of Warner and former Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), who held a golf tournament for 22 years each June in Williamsburg, Va. The event is considered the grandfather of all golf-tournament fundraisers, according to several Republicans familiar with the event. They added that demand to attend the tournament was intense and that tickets sold out each year.
Warner told The Hill that he hosted the fundraiser himself last month, since Nickles has retired.
Although Blunt and Goodlatte do not have plans to hold an event next year, they hope the event is big enough of a draw to do it again.
Several lawmakers, some of whom will fly to Hot Springs, Va., on corporate jets, have confirmed that they will attend, including Reps. Hastings, Duncan Hunter (Calif.), Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.), Ander Crenshaw (Fla.), Frank Lucas (Okla.), Buck McKeon (Calif.), Lamar Smith (Texas) and Henry Bonilla (Texas), according to senior House GOP aide.
A weekend stay, breakfast, dinner and unlimited golf costs $445 per person during the summer, according to the Homestead’s website.
Campaign-finance laws allow individual donors, unions and corporations to give up to $5,000 to PACs. Donors can give a maximum of $2,100 to a candidate’s personal campaign committee in a primary and general election.