With the Republican contest in disarray at the top of the ticket, party operatives are encouraging megadonors to look further down the ticket. But deep-pocketed conservatives are falling behind their liberal counterparts in the race to fund some of the vehicles that will help carry down-ballot candidates: joint fundraising committees, or JFCs.
A Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the top donors to JFCs — which allow candidates, party committees, and PACs to band together and take one big check apiece from contributors — shows that liberal megadonors, led by those loyal to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have given $12.3 million compared to conservatives’ $10.3 million.
Among the top 20 biggest donors to JFCs, just three have given predominantly to Republican committees. The biggest JFC donor so far? Tech billionaire Sean Parker, who’s shelled out more than $725,000, much of it to Clinton’s JFC.
Overall, the picture looks better for Republicans: GOP JFCs have raised $76 million, while Democrats’ committees have raised $42 million. But then, Republicans have more JFCs than their rivals, 231 to 128. Averaged out, there’s virtual parity: GOP has collected $329,000 per JFC, compared to the Democrats’ $328,000.
Among the top 20 biggest donors to JFCs, just three have given predominantly to Republican committees
JFCs allow star fundraisers to spread their wealth around the party.. The donors can’t get around individual contribution limits — but they can get creative.
The Hillary Victory Committee and Democratic Hope Fund, for instance, are using loopholes to transfer funds to the Democratic National Committee through state party affiliates, and they’re doing it with megadonor money Republicans haven’t yet been able to match. The listed beneficiaries of her JFC include her campaign committee, the DNC and 31 state party committees.
Unsurprisingly, the industries giving to the Hillary Victory Committee closely track with industry donors to her supportive super PACs. Securities and investment — Wall Street — has given the most to that committe, nearly $3.5 million. Wealthy individuals who list a foundation or nonprofit as their employer, who together make up part of the non-profit institutions industry, have given $1.6 million.
That makes Clinton’s JFC like the super PACs that support her: Clinton can claim popular support for her campaign from law firms and the education industries, but a look at her big-money groups shows Wall Street and the wealthy dominate the giving.