Marilinda Garcia and the billionaires

Political fundraising is a demeaning exercise under the best of circumstances, but it must have been particularly humiliating for Marilinda Garcia when she went looking for handouts from some of the nation’s richest men during the Koch brothers’ secret billionaire summit last month.

Two enterprising inewsource reporters infiltrated the exclusive St. Regis Monarch Bay resort in Dana Point, California and got an insider’s view of the mega-donor conference. As Garcia, a young Latina running for Congress in New Hampshire’s second congressional district, was likely making her way to the luxury resort, the journalists eavesdropped on attendees hanging out in the hotel bar:

They talked about political prospects, and one man remarked that he liked “Herrera,” possibly a reference to Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents Washington’s 3rd congressional district.

“You’re into Latinos, eh?” the other replied.

The man who said he liked Herrera talked about working on Rick Santorum’s campaign, and how it was the “Tylenol quote” that killed Santorum’s chances in the 2012 Republican primary. Foster Friess, one of Santorum’s most prominent backers, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly,” he said.

They talked about how things said in private would sound terrible in public.

“My wife is a spik, I call her a wetback sometimes,” one man said, laughing.image

Money Can’t Buy Me Love: Coös County GOP Committee rejects Scott Brown PAC donation

The Coös County Republican Committee has returned a $1000 donation from Scott Brown’s Fiscal Responsibility PAC saying they do not want to create the impression of favoring one candidate over another in the U.S. Senate primary.

The group announced the decision on Facebook. “Wow!!! Coös County Republican Committee just set a example the state gop should follow,” they wrote. “Tonight we declined the money offered from the Scott Brown PAC($1000) and instead raised $2,000 in its place.”

"The committee voted to return the money," the post continued, "along with an explanation that they do not accept the money on the principle that it doesn’t fair well with constituents as no other candidates have not donated, and they do not want the impression of favoring one candidate over another by accepting the money."

"Our committee is not a part of the establishment GOP," explained committee chair Eric Catman. “We are a part of the state committee, but we don’t follow lock step with some of the things going on. We feel that principles are important and that we need to stand for what is right and conservative.”

In April, Brown’s PAC reported $29,000 in nonfederal contributions to 18 Republican committees in the Granite State. The PAC also reported federal contributions to Frank Guinta, Kelly Ayotte and the New Hampshire Republican State Commiittee.

The PAC originated as Brown’s senatorial campaign committee. In May 2013, The Scott Brown for U.S. Senate Committee became The People’s Seat PAC and then changed its name to the Fiscal Responsibility PAC in March 2014.image

National Organization for Marriage fails to deliver

In January, 2012, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledged to spend $250,000 in support of the effort to repeal same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.

"We intend to hold every legislator accountable for his or her vote on marriage," said NOM president Brian Brown. "Those who support HB 437 will be rewarded, while those who don’t will suffer the consequences.”

It appears to have been an idle threat.

IRS forms filed by NOM and its affiliated “Education Fund" identify just $14,000 in contributions to Granite State politicians last year: $7,000 to the House Republican Victory PAC (then chaired by former Speaker Bill O’Brien), $5,000 to the Bill O’Brien for Speaker committee, $1,000 to the Committee to Reelect Bill O’Brien State Rep and $1,000 to the Friends of Stephen Stepanek committee.

Perhaps the group, which has been labeled “anti-gay” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for propagating “demonizing propaganda” based on “known falsehoods” and “repeated, groundless name-calling,” lost interest after the legislation to repeal marriage equality went down to defeat in March.

O’Brien campaign fails ‘critical first test’

Former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien said the first quarter of fundraising was a “critical first test" for his congressional campaign. By most measures, he failed that test.

O’Brien’s $42,000 total pales in comparison to the $350,000 raised by Congresswoman Ann Kuster. As WMUR’s James Pindell noted, the disappointing take keeps the door open for a Republican primary challenger.

Many of the 22 individuals who donated at least $250 served with O’Brien in the House: Reps. Carol McGuire ($2600), Dan McGuire ($2600), Laurence Rappaport ($500), William Infantine ($250), Pamela Tucker ($250), and former Reps. Stephen Stepanek ($5200) and David Bates ($500).

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity was represented with personal contributions from former New Hampshire executive director Cory Lewandowski ($1000) and current boss Greg Moore ($5200).

Just two political action committees contributed to O’Brien’s campaign, the National Right to Work Committee ($3000) and the Newt Gingrich’s American Legacy PAC ($2500). Contributions from corporations that directly benefited from O’Brien’s reign, including tobacco companies and Cancer Treatment Centers of America, were conspicuously absent.

O’Brien was more successful in raising money from his own family. His wife, Roxanne, donated the maximum $5200 and the candidate loaned $60,000 to his campaign.

Kelly Ayotte’s fundraising bravado: ‘They’re messing with the wrong Senator’

Faced with withering and unrelenting criticism for her vote against expanding background checks for gun purchasers, Sen. Kelly Ayotte responds — by fundraising:

I urge you to make a generous contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more to help me defend the Second Amendment and set the record straight.

Bloomberg and his radical allies are going to great lengths to try to discredit me, and it’s appalling. One quick look at my record and you’ll see I’ve always been tough on criminals, while remaining a staunch defender of the Constitution.

They think that I’m an easy political target, but they’re messing with the wrong Senator. Because they can’t bully me into throwing my values and beliefs out the window.

Guinta pays himself, empties campaign account

As he weighs options for his next run for political office, former Congressman Frank Guinta has emptied his campaign account, writing himself a $25,000 check in the process.

In paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission, Guinta reports having just $148 left in his campaign account at the end of March. The former congressman paid himself $25,000 as partial repayment for personal loans to the campaign. Guinta has now paid back $66,500 of the $355,000 he loaned the campaign, leaving a loan balance of $288,500.

As former New Hampshire Republican Party chair Fergus Cullen noted previously, political candidates typically do not repay personal loans:

While many candidates loan personal funds to their campaigns, repayment is less common. Former Congressman Jeb Bradley and Governor John Lynch are among the New Hampshire candidates whose personal loans to campaigns were never repaid, in part to avoid the potential conflicts of interest that can arise when campaign contributions become personal payments.

Guinta has been dogged by ethics controversy since reporters first questioned the source of the funds he loaned his campaign. The First District Republican eventually amended financial disclosure reports and identified the source as a previously undisclosed bank account. Guinta blamed the omission on an “inadvertent oversight.”

Shea-Porter & Kuster lead pre-primary fundraising

Democratic congressional challengers Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster outraised the incumbent congressmen they hope to unseat by significant margins in the lead up to party primary elections on September 11, 2012.

Democrat Ann Kuster led the field, raising over $220,000 in the last seven weeks, more than doubling the take from her Republican opponent, Congressman Charlie Bass, who raised nearly $87,000.

Over 83% of Kuster’s contributions were from individuals ($184,000) and over 40% of that ($74,000) was in small donations of $200 or less. Over half of Bass’ funds came from political action committees. At the end of the period, Kuster reported over $1.1 million cash on hand compared to Bass’ $850,000.

                                       Kuster-D      Bass-R
Itemized Contributions . . . . . . . $   109,385   $  32,475
Non-Itemized Contributions . . . . . $    74,296   $   4,362 
Political Committees . . . . . . . . $    34,416   $  49,820
Total Receipts . . . . . . . . . . . $   220,171   $  86,656
Cash On Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 1,118,767   $ 849,629

For the first time this election cycle, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter outraised 1st district Congressman Frank Guinta. Shea-Porter raised over $195,000 compared to Guinta’s $137,500. Over half of the money raised by Guinta came from political action committees. Guinta maintains a healthy lead in cash on hand, reporting $811,000 to $423,000 for Shea-Porter.

                                       CSP-D        Guinta-R
Itemized Contributions . . . . . . . $  74,496     $  61,075
Non-Itemized Contributions . . . . . $  79,271     $   5,895
Political Committees . . . . . . . . $  41,250     $  70,500
Miscellaneous  . . . . . . . . . . . $       3     $      60

Total Receipts . . . . . . . . . . . $ 195,020     $ 137,530

Cash On Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 422,709     $ 810,829

What do health clubs & donuts have in common?

In 2010, Republican gubernatorial candidate John Stephen caused a stir when he raised over $100,000 from 30 limited liability corporations at two addresses in Massachusetts and Connecticut that were traced to Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kevin Smith has picked up where Stephen left off. Nearly half of Smith’s $324,000 in contributions came from scores of LLCs at the same addresses.

In his latest campaign finance report, Smith lists $99,000 in contributions from 50 LLCs related to Dunkin’ Donut franchises, 47 with the same Westborough, MA address. Smith received another $55,000 in donations from 11 LLCs at two addresses in Newington, NH and Yonkers, NY that serve as headquarters for Planet Fitness health clubs.

A loophole in New Hampshire law allows an owner of multiple limited-liability corporations to make donations up to the legal limit — $7,000 per election cycle — on behalf of each LLC.

Smith spokesman Jamie Burnett told AP he “did not know if the LLCs had one or more owners,” but “we’re happy to get that support.”

Young Guns back Frank Guinta

YG Network, an advocacy group with ties to vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, is launching a digital advertising campaign supporting Congressman Frank Guinta.

The issue ad is in opposition to S. 3412, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts on income up to $250,000. YG Network opposes letting the tax cuts expire on higher incomes and labels the bill “Obama’s tax hike.”

"Liberals don’t understand how to create jobs and fix our economy," intones the narrator. "We need Congressman Frank Guinta to keep fighting for small business — tell him to vote for jobs by rejecting s. 3412 — the Obama / Reid / Pelosi tax hike.”

YG is short for “Young Guns,” the brash group of conservative GOP lawmakers who have worked to identify like-minded candidates, help them raise money, taught them political and fundraising skills and tutored them in conservative ideology. Former aides to the congressmen founded a Young Guns super PAC and two political non-profits, YG Network and YG Policy Center.

According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Guinta has received $20,000 in campaign contributions from Cantor’s leadership PAC, $10,000 from Ryan and $9,000 from McCarthy.

NH-02 campaign ‘ground zero in fight for Medicare’

Friends of Democracy, the SuperPAC currently running an ad campaign targeting Rep. Charlie Bass, calls the 2nd District congressional contest between Bass and Democrat Ann Kuster “ground zero in the fight for Medicare.”

Bass is “part of a growing epidemic of members of Congress raking in millions from the insurance lobby while voting to end Medicare,” points out co-director Ilyse Hogue. Friends of Democracy notes Bass voted for the Ryan budget in 2011 while taking in at least $349,875 in campaign contributions from the insurance industry and $10,000 from Congressman Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC.

The Ryan budget would transform Medicare into a system of vouchers to help seniors buy private insurance coverage, which is seen as a boon to the insurance industry. “Paul Ryan and the insurance industry have placed their bets on Rep. Charlie Bass and he has voted their way,” said co-director David Donnelly.

Super PAC targets Bass for Big Oil taxpayer subsidies

Friends of Democracy, a new super PAC targeting the outsize influence of money in politics, is launching an ad campaign against New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass. The ad will run for two weeks in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.

Voiceover: Do you feel frozen out like this when it comes to Congress? No wonder. Corporate lobbyists have your congressman’s full attention. Your congressman, Charlie Bass, over took $166,000 from Big Oil, and voted to give them billions in taxpayer subsidies. If we don’t vote against Charlie Bass, middle class families will never get in the game.

Congressional fundraising summary: 2nd quarter, 2012 

Once again, Democrat Ann Kuster was the big winner in the congressional fundraising sweepstakes among Granite State candidates. The 2nd district congressional candidate raised over $483,000 in the second quarter of 2012 nearly doubling her Republican opponent, Congressman Charlie Bass, who raised $272,000.

Over 80% of Kuster’s contributions were from individuals ($390,779) and nearly a third of that ($121,665) was in small donations of $200 or less. 64% of Bass’ funds came from political action committees. At the end of the quarter, Kuster reported nearly $1.3 million cash on hand compared to Bass’ $913,000.

                                       Kuster-D      Bass-R
Itemized Contributions . . . . . . . $   269,114   $  90,825
Non-Itemized Contributions . . . . . $   121,665   $   6,394 
Political Committees . . . . . . . . $    92,793   $ 174,387
Total Receipts . . . . . . . . . . . $   483,572   $ 271,606
Cash On Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 1,292,811   $ 912,791

First district Congressman Frank Guinta widened his fundraising lead over Democrat Carol Shea-Porter raising $256,000 for the quarter compared to $201,000 for Shea-Porter. Guinta also slightly increased his wide lead in cash on hand, reporting $846,000 to $312,000 for Shea-Porter.

                                       CSP-D        Guinta-R
Itemized Contributions . . . . . . . $  97,586     $ 149,100
Non-Itemized Contributions . . . . . $  39,883     $  11,180
Political Committees . . . . . . . . $  62,733     $  95,741
Miscellaneous  . . . . . . . . . . . $     652     $       0

Total Receipts . . . . . . . . . . . $ 200,853     $ 256,021

Cash On Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 312,458     $ 846,191

Miscellany Blue