Not couch cushion money: Former members sitting on $54 million – JP
Ohio Republican Rob Portman, who retired from his Senate seat, still had $3.1 million in campaign cash and another roughly $47,000 in his leadership PAC. Former Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont had $1.3 million in his two accounts.
Former Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who lost a primary over her vote to impeach Trump, converted her campaign committee into a PAC called the Great Task, which reported more than $4.7 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31. There was another $347,000 in Cowboy PAC, her leadership fund. Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who also supported impeachment, had nearly $3 million in leftover political money, records show.
K Street bound
Other recently departed members who have decamped for K Street gigs have leftover money that they can use to make donations. Former Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who joined Holland & Knight, reported holding $637,000 between his campaign committee and leadership PAC. Former Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, who lost a GOP primary last year and has since become managing director at Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, had $128,000. Democratic former Rep. Cheri Bustos, who did not run for reelection for her Illinois seat, holds about $730,000. She recently joined the firm Mercury.
Ex-Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who chaired the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has forged a “strategic collaboration” with the lobbying firm Summit Strategies, though he doesn’t “currently” plan to register as a lobbyist, according to the firm’s announcement. He holds about $225,000 between his old campaign committee and leadership PAC, FEC records show. Former New York GOP Rep. John Katko reported more than $900,000 in his old campaign committee and a little extra change (about $14,000) in his leadership PAC. Katko joined the HillEast firm as a strategic adviser.
“A lot of retiring members like to remain politically active,” said Jan Baran, a Republican campaign finance lawyer with Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak. “You’ll see that for retiring members who go into lobbying, it becomes very convenient to have a personal PAC to remind your former colleagues of who you are and what you’re doing now.”