Rep. Steve Stivers (Ohio) accepted the most PAC dollars of any of the new Republican lawmakers, $241,000 in the first quarter, or about 60 percent of the money he raised.
Overall, fundraising among the large GOP freshman class is below the average raised by new Democratic members in the first quarters of 2007 and 2009, after elections when liberals won big gains in Congress. Two years ago, Democratic freshmen raised $287,000 on average, while the figure this year for the new GOP lawmakers was $176,000.
Among the Republican freshmen with big PAC receipts were Reps. Diane Black (Tenn.) with $178,000, Nan A.S. Hayworth (N.Y.) with $170,000 and Kristi L. Noem (S.D.) with $169,000.
Noem scheduled at least 10 Washington fundraisers in the first quarter, according to invitations compiled by the Sunlight Foundation. An e-mail obtained by the foundation included nine events, including a pizza lunch and two dinners asking for a $1,500-$2,000 donation from attendees. A Noem spokesman declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Stivers.
Sixteen freshman members of the House Agriculture Committee held a fundraiser March 14 at the Capitol Hill Club, asking for contributions of $8,000 to $16,000 from PACs. The group of lawmakers raised at least $250,000, according to an FEC report.
Who’s spending what
Spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dropped in the first quarter of the year to $10.9 million, according to a lobbying report filed Wednesday. That compares with more than $100 million last year, including millions of dollars on election ads and lobbying on two huge pieces of legislation on health care and financial regulation. The Chamber spent $25 million in the first quarter of 2010 as the health-care bill was finalized. Chamber officials said the lobbying activity “remained consistent with previous non-election years.”
FedEx cut its lobbying spending dramatically in the first quarter, records show. The shipping company spent $3.9 million in the first three months of the year, compared with $6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 and $4.9 million a year ago.
The company had been fighting an amendment, pushed by rival UPS and the Teamsters union, to change the way the government treats FedEx employees who are seeking to unionize. The company is currently governed under the Railway Labor Act, a 1926 law intended to limit strikes.
Last year, the Democratic-controlled House passed a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that would have changed the way FedEx drivers are treated under labor laws. But this year, the House, now under Republican control, passed a bill without that provision.