House Republicans are finding that even out of office, former President Trump is a magnet for money — whether they're perceived to be with him or against him. Both his staunchest allies who objected to the 2020 election results and those who voted to impeach him brought in major first quarter fundraising hauls, largely driven by individual donors.
The 139 House Republicans who objected to the 2020 election results raised nearly $37 million during the first quarter of 2021, while the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him brought in a combined $6.4 million, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed by candidates' main campaign committees. The median for the candidates who objected was $129,290 and the impeachment candidates' median was $478,016. Early data suggests large chunks of donations may be coming from out-of-state donors.
Among representatives who objected to the election results, 73.7% of money raised by their campaign committees came from individual donations directly made to those committees. Just 7.4% of the money came from "other political committees" such as Political Action Committees (PACs) and corporate PACs. Candidates also reported money from other groups such as joint fundraising committees.
Some of the former president's biggest defenders brought in massive seven-figure hauls, including Representatives Jim Jordan ($2.1 million), Matt Gaetz ($1.8 million) and Elise Stefanik ($1.1 million). Some high-profile freshmen who aligned themselves with Mr. Trump also had massive quarters, including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene ($3.2 million) and Madison Cawthorn ($1 million).
In the first quarter of 2019, the Republicans who objected to the election results who were already in office or had started raising money for their 2020 campaign raised a combined $23.4 million, with $11.1 million of that money pouring in from individual donors, while nearly $7 million came from "other political committees," such as PACs.
This year, that same group of lawmakers hauled in $27.6 million, primarily from individual donors. $20.1 million, or 72.7% of total donations, came from individuals, while just $1.8 million came from "other political committees." While the group of lawmakers collectively raised more money, less than half of those members, 49 of the 109, personally saw their numbers increase from two years ago. More than 30 members saw fundraising totals dip by at least 50%.
Matt Gorman, a Republican strategist and former National Republican Congressional Committee communications director, pointed to two potential explanations for the increase in individual donations: a stronger GOP digital fundraising apparatus and a more energized political climate compared to a "sleepier" 2019.
"There's far more of a robust digital infrastructure out there and people can tap into that base of fundraising," Gorman said. "Coming off a hard-fought presidential election where people were still very engaged with it, that was a recipe to keep that fundraising base's interest."
Among House members who supported Mr. Trump's efforts to overturn the election results, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona raised $12,635 from individuals in the first quarter of 2019. This year, he brought in $115,043 in individual donations — nearly a third of what he raised from individuals in all of 2019 and 2020. Representative Brian Mast of Florida raised $707,742 from individuals last quarter compared to $188,624 during the same time frame in 2019.
Following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, several corporations said they were either putting a pause on political donations or wouldn't donate to House members who had objected to the election results. Some corporations, such as American Express and Allstate, stuck by that commitment.
Others that said they would simply be "assessing" or "reviewing" their PAC spending have resumed donating. On January 13, Toyota's PAC said, "Given recent events and the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria." The company donated to at least 30 Republican members who objected to the election results during the first quarter.
"Toyota supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company," Toyota said in a statement to CBS News. "We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification. Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions."
Many of the House members who objected to the election results saw a big drop in donations from "other political committees," a category that includes corporate PAC money. Several members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee who objected to the election results saw donations in this category drop by more than 80% compared to 2019. Multiple members on the Energy and Commerce Committee saw donations in this category fall by 70% or more.
Republican strategist Jimmy Keady, a former chief of staff and senior adviser to GOP congress members, said while corporate PAC money "will always matter" to campaigns, GOP candidates have already been moving towards low-dollar fundraising.
"Candidates don't have to do the dog and pony show that they have to do with PACs. You send out an email and they make $20,000 off one email, they're going to continue to go down that road because that's how you fundraise," he said.
"When Republicans get the majority back again in 2022, we're going to see those PAC numbers come back right up to where they were before," he added.
The 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump over his role on January 6 are also seeing a windfall in fundraising. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the number three House Republican, raised a personal record $1.54 million. This is more than five times what she raised in the first quarter of 2019. One of her challengers, Wyoming state Senator Anthony Bouchard, said he raised $334,370 in the quarter.
John Katko of New York, who represents a district that President Biden won, also posted a personal high for the first quarter with $436,291. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who already has a Trump-endorsed primary challenger, raised $616,524. That's nearly triple his first quarter in 2019.
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who was an outspoken Trump critic before breaking with the party to vote for Mr. Trump to be impeached in January 2021, raised $2.2 million this past quarter. Half of that is for his "Country First" PAC, which supports anti-Trump candidates. His campaign committee raised $1.1 million.
Representative Tom Rice of South Carolina, the sole member of the House to both object to election results and vote to impeach Mr. Trump, saw his fundraising increase 168% compared to 2019's first quarter. He raised $404,731, including $323,231 from individuals.