If one is in Republican leadership one’s donors are more similar on average, according to ProPublica, to Democrats than to small government Republicans. The split between the “establishment” in Congress and the insurgent Freedom Caucus members is becoming increasingly stark and may help to explain why it is that the Republican leadership in Congress seems so eager to capitulate on issues of spending. Well, on pretty much every issue actually. I still have a battery acid taste in my mouth from the Ex-Im Bank renewal and the Omnibus bill passage. Both were kicks in the teeth to small government, anti-crony capitalism forces. Both were facilitated by Republican congressional leadership.
The differences in donor bases affect other policy debates, said Dave Brat of Virginia, a Freedom Caucus member who defeated then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 2014 primary and went on to take his seat. For instance, he said, conservatives lost their fight to defund the U.S. Export-Import Bank last year in part because the companies that benefit from the bank won over Republicans and Democrats who received campaign contributions from those firms.
The disparity is “a huge deal,” Brat said…
…The degree of similarity between Ryan’s 2014 PAC donors and those of Freedom Caucus members Justin Amash of Michigan and Ted Yoho of Florida was close to nil: 0.03 and 0.16. Tim Huelskamp, a Kansas Republican who lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee in 2012 for his votes against leadership, had few PAC donors in common with Ryan (a score of 0.15) or any other House colleague in 2014: his highest score was 0.3, with fellow Kansan Mike Pompeo.
PAC donors to House Majority Leader McCarthy, of California, were more like Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s (0.53 score) than they were those of Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, who heads the Freedom Caucus (0.31).