House Republicans signing away their independence to get re-elected

  • 3 September 2015
  • NormanL
House Republicans signing away their independence to get re-elected

Many words have been written about the GOP base being angry with the Republican congressional leadership. This revelation about the Republican campaign committee is sure to make the anger even hotter:

Two dozen House republicans">Republicans have agreed to privately detail their “legislative strategy” to party operatives, promising to offer “political justifications” for their goals in congress">Congress.

The Daily 202 obtained a copy of the three-page contract that the National Republican Congressional Committee requires members to sign if they want to participate in its Patriot Program. The initiative, designed to protect potentially vulnerable incumbents, brings with it special attention and access to mounds of campaign cash. But strings are attached.

One of the 13 requirements is to submit an off-year “campaign plan” that includes: “Detailed, written legislative strategy that provides short-, intermediate-, and long-term legislative goals, including political justifications for those goals.”

What's so bad about this? It exposes a long-held secret about congressional incumbents and their access to money:

The closely-held document offers a window into how much autonomy lawmakers often must forfeit to unelected Washington insiders. For instance, in exchange for reelection support, lawmakers must promise to exclusively use vendors sanctioned by establishment-aligned party chieftains, attend training sessions and raise six figures for the NRCC. They must also commit to holding a certain amount of cash-on-hand at the end of each fundraising quarter and limit their spending. These goals are tailored to the individual member, so someone who sits on a prominent committee (say Financial Services) would be expected to bring in a bigger haul. And let’s face it, some of the goals are simply smart ways for members to prepare early in the era of the permanent campaign.

Do what you're told, and use only these hand-picked political consultants, and national money is yours. Don't agree to the terms, and you're on your own.

The Republican base is in no mood for such "contracts," especially when they give the appearance (and reality) of surrendering to leadership in return for money.

Who has signed up?

Barbara Comstock, Rodney Davis, Jeff Denham, Dan Benishek, Tim Walberg, Martha McSally, David Valadao, Mike Coffman, Carlos Curbelo, David Young, Bob Dold, Mike Bost, Bruce Poliquin, Frank Guinta, Cresent Hardy, Lee Zeldin, John Katko, Will Hurd, Ryan Costello, Steve Knight, Elise Stefanik, Dan Donovan and Mike Bishop. Interestingly, the contract appears to give members the opportunity to be part of the Patriot Program without being publicly listed. 

Of course it does. Because a Republican incumbent putting his or her name out there as a tool of leadership is bound to face uncomfortable questions from the folks back home.