June 20, 2018 at 11:58 PM
The Republican National Committee entered the summer with nearly twice the fundraising power of its Democratic counterpart, though Democratic campaigns are on track to receive a massive infusion of cash through a roughly $80 million commitment by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
As the majority of states gear up for 2018 general-election battles, the RNC yet again showed strong fundraising totals, hauling in another $14 million in May for a total of $187.7 million for the cycle, according to new Federal Election Commission records filed Wednesday night. The RNC had $47.4 million in cash on hand, records show.
The Democratic National Committee raised $5.6 million in May for a total of $97.8 million for the cycle. The DNC also remained in debt this month, as it has all year, with $8.7 million cash on hand and $5.7 million in debt, FEC records show.
About $3 million of the DNC’s debt is owed to Perkins Coie, a law firm that handles much of the legal work for Democratic campaigns and that hired the company that compiled research for a controversial dossier during the 2016 cycle on then-candidate Donald Trump’s possible connections with Russia.
Payments by the RNC to the law firm Wiley Rein spiked in May. Among the RNC’s major expenses last month were payments to Wiley Rein worth $150,450 — the largest amount paid to the firm by the RNC so far this year — for “legal and compliance services.”
Wiley Rein is a prominent election-law firm in Washington, and some of its attorneys also established the legal defense fund set up to pay the fees for Trump aides under investigation in the Russia probes.
Neither the DNC nor the RNC could be reached Wednesday night to comment on the legal fees.
The latest filings show that as the general-election season quickly approaches, the Democratic Party is still piecing together its fundraising apparatus after an organizational reboot. Instead, the donor energy on the left is funneling directly to individual campaigns — a trend that is unlikely to change ahead of the midterms.
In a statement released Wednesday, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the party is building on enthusiasm from Trump’s base and investing in its grass-roots efforts to turn out GOP votes in November. So far this cycle, the RNC has consistently received a flood of contributions under $200 from Trump’s galvanized base.
In the place of aggressive fundraising by the Democratic Party, a billionaire financier is poised to become the largest benefactor this cycle in the Democrats’ efforts to regain the majority in the House.
Bloomberg, a political independent, on Wednesday announced his plans to drastically step up political contributions this cycle. He plans to spend at least $80 million in the 2018 midterm cycle, largely to support House Democratic campaigns, according to aides.
In a statement, Bloomberg expressed frustration with inaction in Congress under Republican leadership and said he believes a divided government would be more effective at reaching bipartisan solutions to gun safety, climate change, immigration and more.
“I’ve never thought that the public is well-served when one party is entirely out of power, and I think the past year-and-a-half has been evidence of that,” Bloomberg’s statement said.
Major donors to the Democratic super PAC to help elect party candidates to the House include $1.6 million from hedge fund founder James Simons and $750,000 from investor Bernard Schwartz, FEC records show.