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politico – Koch Network vows to ‘weigh’ lawmakers’ heavy actions in riots

Seidel’s statement follows months of the network working to operate more independently of the Republican Party. Billionaire Charles Koch grew increasingly unhappy with President Donald Trump’s tactics and policies and did not support him in his candidacies for the 2016 or 2020 election.

Koch’s move comes after many corporate PACs began suspending donations to Republicans who challenged President-elect Joe Biden’s victory last week. Many of these companies were responding to pressure from customers and customers. The Koch action, amid a resounding silence among Trump allies, suggests that megadonors – a small class of branded billionaires who donate tens to hundreds of millions of dollars per election cycle – also feel their reputations are on the line if they support lawmakers who have backed the fraud claims Trump election campaign.

Major GOP donors, including the Ricketts family of Chicago, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, and financier Ken Griffin declined to comment on their plans for donations in the wake of the attack on the Capitol. While some should continue to support candidates who are aligned with Trump – Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts is the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee – their reluctance to defend the president and his supporters at a crucial time could be a sign of their unease with the party leadership.

“I would be extremely concerned about this, if this were my path,” said a Republican agent with experience raising funds for Senate races. “The problem is, if corporate PACs aren’t going to give money, business leaders aren’t going to give money.”

The issue was much more complicated after Florida Senator Rick Scott, the new chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee and a major fundraiser for his party, voted against certification of the Pennsylvania election results.

Scott – who is widely regarded as a candidate for the 2024 GOP president – was quick to try to reassure skeptical and at times angry donors that he is still in a good position to lead the committee during a series of phone calls this week, according to two sources close to the calls.

Scott also sent a two-minute video to donors earlier this week marking the start of his role as chair of the NRSC. Dressed in a navy waistcoat and baseball cap, the Florida senator avoided tackling violence on Capitol Hill or Trump’s months of insisting that there had been voter fraud widespread during elections. Instead, he pointed to the high stakes of the 2022 Congressional elections and the need to raise “Bazillian” dollars to take over the Senate.

“If we fail to become the party we trust to lead America into the future, Democrats will lead America into the past,” Scott says in the video. “They will erode our economy and our culture, and turn America into another decaying example of socialism. We will not let that happen.

For his part, Trump will step down with the public support of only a few of the high-value allies who surrounded him when he arrived in Washington.

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who invested more than $ 75 million in Trump’s re-election bid, died this week while being treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But even he had grown uncomfortable with Trump’s election fraud allegations, allowing his newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, to write an op-ed against them. Trump 2016 bankroller Robert Mercer withdrew from the big money policy after his tactics in the 2016 race made him a household name.

Meanwhile, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, an unofficial Trump adviser, has called since mid-November for a peaceful transfer of power to the Biden administration and amplified his disapproval after the attack on Capitol Hill.

“The insurgency that followed the president’s words today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values ​​that are dear to us as Americans. I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our constitution, ”Schwarzman said on the day of the riots. “As I said in November, the election result is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”

Trump has increasingly relied on low dollar supporters rather than the mega-rich. Since the election, the president has continued to fundraise for his personal PAC, legal battles and the RNC, bringing in more than $ 200 million – the majority coming from donors giving less than $ 200.

The violence that marks the end of his presidency could complicate Trump’s ability to raise funds from larger donors in the future.

“No one who has a leadership position in a big organization is going to give money back to Trump,” said Charlie Black, a longtime Republican lobbyist and political adviser.

Another Republican fundraiser put it this way: “My gut tells me that there would be, at least in the larger dollar community, a lot less enthusiasm to give him if he ran for president again.” .

As the anger at Trump hit a new all-time high this week, a slew of big companies – from financial titans like Goldman Sachs to tech heavyweights Google and Facebook – have suspended all donations to lawmakers, and more. small list of companies, including AT&T, said they were. suspend donations of money to members of Congress who voted against certification of election results. On Wednesday, the Charles Schwab Corporation, whose founder and namesake is a major Trump supporter, announced that it would fully dissolve its corporate PAC and donate all existing funds in its PAC account.

However, it’s unclear how long the game will last. Six months from now, donors and businesses may change their minds if Congress starts to legislate again and the Capitol seat is firmly in the back view, Black said.

“Even though people think it was a stupid vote, it’s hard to disqualify 139 Republicans from any future support if they’re on your side with a lot of problems,” Black said, referring to Republicans who voted for. reject voters in states where Trump has claimed fraud.

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