Political Party Time

In jockeying for a gavel, dozens of fundraisers

Just since June, House Republicans in the best position to become committee chairs in a GOP takeover have advertised at least 88 fundraisers, according to Party Time’s database (links to the invitations are below).

For months, lobbyists have been courting the Republicans most likely to take the reins of committees if the Democrats lose their majority in the House, as the New York Times wrote today. Lobbyists have been jockeying for face time with members and contacting aides. Industries have stepped up donations to the possible chairs of committees they want to influence.

The next Ways and Means chair is likely to be ranking member Dave Camp, R-Mich. The Times reported on three fundraisers he held late last month, including this dinner at the Online Lenders Alliance townhouse on Capitol Hill.

Invitations show that potential Energy and Commerce chairs -- Fred Upton, R-Mich., Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla. -- have also been holding fundraisers of late. Of the three, Barton appears to be holding the most fundraisers this fall, according to Party Time records. Last month, the National Mining Association and Peabody Energy – the largest private sector coal company in the world – hosted a fundraiser for Barton. Both interests would have a stake in any cap-and-trade proposals, likely to be considered by the committee next year.

Barton has also planned a mid-November reception at the Capitol Hill eatery Charlie Palmer Steak. And donors had the opportunity to join him on his “7th Annual Barton Family Fishing Trip,” at the “beautiful Cheeca Lodge & Spa” in the Florida Keys in mid-October benefiting his leadership PAC, the Texas Freedom Fund.

Stearns, meanwhile, held a fundraiser at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association for a “High Definition 3-D TV Reception and Dinner” last month, benefiting his leadership PAC. Telecom operators would be impacted by net neutrality rules, under jurisdiction of the committee. Stearns has been seeking to boost his fundraising credentials.

Courting potential leaders before they pick up their gavels is not new. Even before tax-writing Ways and Means Committee chairman Sander Levin, D-Mich., took Charles Rangel’s, D-N.Y., position at the helm of the committee, he attracted new tax lobbyist contributors.

To see all of the fundraisers by chairs and ranking members of House and Senate committees, visit our Committee Leadership page. Here are links to the fundraising invitations in our records for House Republicans vying for a leadership spot, along with the number of invites on file.

Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Judiciary -- 11

Sam Graves (R-Miss.), Small Business – 10

Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Natural Resources – 10

Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Agriculture – 9

Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Oversight and Government Reform – 7

Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Energy and Commerce – 7

Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Appropriations – 6

Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), House Administration – 6

Joe Barton (R-Texas), Energy and Commerce – 5

Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Budget – 4

Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Ways and Means – 3

Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Energy and Commerce – 3

John Kline (R-Minn.), Education and Labor – 2

Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), Standards of Official Conduct – 2

Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Financial Services– 1

David Dreier (R-Calif.), Rules – 1

John Mica (R-Fla.), Transportation and Infrastructure – 1

Note: The Party Time database is based on congressional fundraising invitations we receive from anonymous lobbyist sources. While not a complete list, it is the most comprehensive public resource available.