The 2010 midterm election could prove to be the most expensive ever, and candidates are spreading some of that wealth amongst themselves. Candidates contribute to each other via their principle campaign committees as well as leadership PACs, which are political action committees that politicians form to help their fellow politicians get elected. By the numbers, Republicans have been the top team players this cycle--three of the top four candidate contributors are high-profile members of the GOP.
Members of Congress make contributions to each other for the obvious purpose of promoting their fellow party members. But powerful politicians also use their leadership PAC money to spread their influence or demonstrate party leadership.
The top 10 givers this cycle are affiliates of a veritable who’s-who of bipartisan Hill leadership, yet one unofficial leader tops the list: Sen. Jim DeMint. Demint has contributed over $750,000 more than any other candidate this cycle via his campaign committee and two leadership PACs, and has made a name for himself this cycle as a major benefactor of conservative candidates not supported by the party establishment. In addition to the $2.5 million in contributions made by one of his leadership PACs, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the PAC has also spent on other candidates in the form of independent expenditures--communications like advertisements and mailings.
Other top givers include House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (No. 2), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (No. 3), House Minority Leader John Boehner (No. 4), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (No. 5), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (No. 6), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (No. 9). Party campaign committee chairs, whose chief duties include helping to elect their fellow party members, are also well represented on the list. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (No. 7) is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Pete Sessions (No. 8) is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Sen. John Cornyn (No. 10) chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
According to the latest FEC filings, which cover giving through October 13,the 10 members of Congress who have given the most to federal candidates this cycle are:
|Sen. Jim DeMint||R||SC||$2,564,099|
|Rep. Eric Cantor||R||VA||$1,803,199|
|Rep. Steny Hoyer||D||MD||$1,552,726|
|Rep. John Boehner||R||OH||$1,432,289|
|Rep. James Clyburn||D||SC||$1,353,500|
|Rep. Nancy Pelosi||D||CA||$1,123,000|
|Rep. Chris Van Hollen||D||MD||$866,000|
|Rep. Pete Sessions||R||TX||$723,510|
|Sen. Mitch McConnell||R||KY||$575,590|
|Sen. John Cornyn||R||TX||$489,500|
Updated on 10/22/10: This article has been updated.