Republicans set up first ‘max-PACs’ in wake of McCutcheon decision

Republicans are moving to take advantage of a recent Supreme Court ruling that did away with the cap on how much money a donor could give to party committees and candidates each election, setting up new joint fundraising committees that can solicit contributions worth nearly six figures.

For the first time, GOP donors can now support all three party committees at once, by writing one check for as much as $97,200. The money goes to the Republican Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee made up of the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, whose existence was first reported by Politico.

That’s $22,600 more than a donor could have given before the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which knocked out the previous limit of $74,600 that individuals could give party committees during the current two-year election cycle.

“We are moving forward on a joint fundraising agreement with the NRSC and NRCC so we can maximize our donations to help candidates win in November,” said Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the RNC, which was a party to the Supreme Court case.

Another joint fundraising committee called the 2014 Senators Classic Committee registered last week with the Federal Election Commission. It consists of 19 GOP candidates: Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jim Risch of Idaho, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, along with Senate hopefuls Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Terri Lynn Land of Michigan, Ed Gillespie of Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Steve Daines of Montana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Scott Brown of New Hampshire.

Organized by Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the Senators Classic Committee has been in existence since 2005, but it has never raised money for more than 16 candidates at once. Its latest incarnation was first reported by the Huffington Post.

Before the McCutcheon decision, donor could write checks up to $48,600 to the committee. Now, they can give as much as $96,200.

Campaign finance lawyers expect such committees -- dubbed “max-PACs” by one FEC commissioner – to proliferate on both sides of the aisle. Hypothetically, super-sized joint fundraising committees could accept checks for as much as $3.6 million from a single donor.

Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.

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