The “Sedition Caucus” funds Republicans in favor of impeachment


After the January 6 uprising, House Republicans appeared to be divided.

Those who opposed the 2020 election results appeared to disagree with Republicans who backed away from the MAGA group – lawmakers who backed President Joe Biden’s victory, backed a bipartisan probe into the attack on the U.S. Capitol and , the most treacherous of all in their minds, voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump.

But you wouldn’t know from the receipts.

In the months following the attack, committees affiliated with 63 of the 139 House Republicans who opposed the election results (the so-called “Sedition Caucus”) donated over $ 650,000 to their counterparts. of the GOP who certified Trump’s defeat, according to federal documents. The recipients even include two GOP lawmakers who impeached Trump for inciting insurgency – Reps. David Valadao (R-CA) and John Katko (R-NY), who have accumulated over $ 100,000.

Over $ 200,000 of the total came from House leaders: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who replaced MAGA’s outcast representative in May. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as party chair.

McCarthy, Scalise, and Stefanik all opposed certification of election results, and all three voted to exonerate Trump and opposed the creation of a committee to investigate the events surrounding the riot. And yet, all are paying the Republicans on the other side of these issues money.

The money was distributed among 10 GOP beneficiaries. Scalise, who would apparently aim for McCarthy’s leadership position, led the field with $ 139,000 in donations, while McCarthy’s committees donated $ 40,000 and Stefanik contributed $ 24,000.

Additionally, a joint McCarthy-affiliated fundraising committee – called Take Back the House 2022 – transferred more than $ 1.5 million to the group of 10, including about $ 260,000 to destitute Katko and Valadao, according to an analysis. data from the Federal Election Commission. The committee raised a total of $ 650,000 for five of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment.

While executives don’t seem to have a problem handing out money to Republicans who crossed paths with Trump, Republicans more loyal to Trump have generally avoided giving money to any GOP lawmakers on Trump’s wrong side. Among the most notorious members of the “Sedition Caucus”, such as representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) – only Boebert appears to have donated to a Republican who voted to hold the election, with a single donation of $ 1,500 to Representative Mariannette Miller -Meeks (R-IA) at the end of June.

Yet it is clear that Republicans in general, both those who voted to overturn the elections and those who voted to keep them, are pouring out money. Most importantly, nearly all Republicans have made contributions to the Republican National Congressional Committee, which will distribute campaign money to the most vulnerable Republicans, whether they voted for impeachment, to decertify the election, or whether they voted for impeachment, or to decertify the election. have taken any other position.

It is the internal shock between the ideological posture and the political necessity. Over the course of the year, the tribal rhetoric of pro-Trump hardliners spawned a parallel MAGA universe where the severity of the deadly riot diminished – its causes erased and rewritten. But this rhetoric belies the unspoken reality that in order to regain control of Congress even the most hardened Republicans will need to support vulnerable incumbents at all levels.

Of course, this also cuts the other way. The 10 members who accepted the Sedition Caucus cash hold swivel seats, and although they all resisted pressure from MAGA to varying degrees, they can be attacked for taking money from these Republicans. . Yet these vulnerable Republicans also face what is sure to be a grueling midterm campaign. And it takes money.

From this point of view, Representative Young Kim (R-CA) is in the lead. The Orange County conservative, who in 2020 toppled incumbent Democrat Gil Cisneros in a close race, reported $ 92,000 in contributions from opponents this year, according to FEC data.

Kim was followed by Reps Miller-Meeks, Valadao, Rodney Davis (R-IL), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), who all accepted over $ 50,000. The group was completed by Representatives Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Katko, Tony Gonzalez (R-TX), Don Bacon (R-NE) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), who received the least support: 41 $ 000.

Four of the members – Fitzpatrick, Gonzalez, Katko and Miller-Meeks – also voted in favor of an independent bipartisan commission on January 6. And all four subsequently received thousands of dollars from Scalise, one of the commission’s most vocal opponents. But when the GOP called off that initial effort, only two opponents voted for a select committee – Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) – and neither received any funds from the Sedition Caucus.

After the January 6 riot, the national campaign committee for incumbents of the GOP House said it would support all Republican members in their primaries. Tom Emmer, president of Take Back the House 2022, aligned with McCarthy, said the same.

“We don’t want Washington’s heavy hand to interfere with the debate, the discussion, that voters in a certain district are having about representation. That being said, I absolutely want to see them win, ”Emmer told CNN this summer.

Money, of course, is not enough to win elections. It also requires political support, which could be a tall order for a party still subject to Trump’s whims and grudges.

In September, CNN reported that McCarthy and his surrogates had asked Trump and those close to him to be lenient with Katko and Valadao. But the notoriously vengeful former president hasn’t shown much interest in restraint.

For example, this summer Trump endorsed a challenger to Gonzalez, affixing a seal of approval to his former White House aide and “Music Man” Max Miller. But even though Miller’s campaign had previously been riddled with allegations of violent behavior and domestic violence, Gonzalez withdrew from the race just weeks after the former president spoke, blaming the decision on a Republican Party. “toxic”.

Gonzalez was followed by Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House select committee, who announced late last month that he would also not be standing for re-election.

“Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and extreme elements within them,” Kinzinger said at the time. “And the price of electricity has skyrocketed.”

While it’s still unclear how other Republicans in favor of impeachment in the House will navigate the vines that have hooked Gonzalez and Kinzinger, some have already shown complacency.

The commission’s vote in May, for example, illustrates the impenetrable matrix of Republican allegiances following the January 6 attack. A number of members who voted to certify Biden’s election also voted against the bipartisan commission five months later. And some opponents who towed the line and blocked the investigation in May later donated money to officials who backed that commission. At the same time, another group of opponents voted to favor of the commission.

The decision to oust Cheney, which came around the same time, could be another tricky fault line, though that event ultimately ended in a closed-door voice vote.

Katko captured the complexity in an interview with reporters in May. The four-term Republican broke with the MAGA wing at the other three times – certification, impeachment and commission – but expressed support for Stefanik, an election objector and fellow New Yorker, in case Cheney gets the boot.

“If anything happens with Liz – and it remains to be seen – but if it does and she puts her name in the ring, I will absolutely support her,” Katko said of Stefanik. “She knows that if we ever want to take back control of Congress, people like me have to win and we have to prosper and we have to have a big tent as the Republican Party.”

Months later, Katko made $ 14,000 from Scalise. Stefanik, who has supported his three previous campaigns, did not give him a dime.

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