Campaign

Controversy equals cash for Greene, Gaetz

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) are among the top-ranked fundraisers in the House, according to new Federal Election Commission filings, with each bringing in more than $1 million.

Greene, who was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year after expressing support for violence against Democrats, raised more than $1.5 million. Greene has also come under criticism from Republicans for remarks about the Holocaust.

Gaetz has been mired in controversy as investigators examine whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws. But he took in $1.4 million despite having to refund 50 campaign donations.

Those numbers are smaller than what the top House GOP leaders raked in but are a reflection of how controversy is paying off for some lawmakers who match inflammatory words with high-profile presences on cable news and social media.

“Even though they aren’t necessarily the most powerful members of Congress, they have a very high profile on social media, and that enables them to reach potential contributors,” said John J. Pitney Jr., a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. “Before social media, before online contributions, it would have been very, very difficult for backbenchers to get that kind of visibility and raise that kind of money.”

Pitney also said that lawmakers such as Greene are taking advantage of a “permanent” campaign process in which they are constantly asking for people to donate to them, often off of their own controversies.

“The more visibility she has, the more money she can raise, and the more money she raises, the more she can buy ads,” he said, referring to Greene’s purchasing patterns.

“Outrage equals visibility,” he said.  

Greene and Gaetz are among the top 10 fundraisers in the House GOP conference for the second quarter.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a former leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump who also has an active presence on Fox News, raised more than $1 million as well. 

Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) were the House GOP’s top two fundraisers, bringing in $3.7 and $3.4 million respectively.

Another big winner was Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Texas), who is among the most high-profile House Republicans on cable news and social media.

He raised $3 million in the second quarter, a huge total for a rank-and-file House member, and closed the month with almost $3.9 million in the bank.

Crenshaw and other Republicans with piles of cash sank money into Facebook and other social media platforms to fundraise.

Crenshaw’s campaign paid for Facebook ads nearly every day of April and May, totaling approximately $80,000 across the quarter. A smaller $1,207 was spent on Google ads.  

Greene sank $15,000 into digital advertising on the conservative social media network Parler and $41,000 into Facebook.

Jordan raised nearly $1.6 million and has $7.3 million on hand.

First-term Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has won headlines and controversy recently with criticisms of federal vaccination efforts, raised nearly $1 million. 

Some Republicans who have criticized Trump also banked cash.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was removed as a House GOP leader over her criticisms of Trump, pulled in about $1.9 million and closed the quarter with more than $2.8 million in the bank, according to the filings. 

“Trump is a tremendous motivator of campaign contributions,” Pitney said. “People give to support Trump, and they give to oppose Trump. A year ago, Liz Cheney probably wouldn’t have raised a lot of money from anti-Trump folks, but recent events have drawn a lot of money her way.” 

Tags Dan Crenshaw Donald Trump Jim Jordan Kevin McCarthy Lauren Boebert Liz Cheney Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Steve Scalise

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