While Democrats are fuming over moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., holding out on massive spending plans, their courage is being rewarded from strange bedfellows: Republican donors.
Businesses and conservatives concerned about inflationary pressures and socialist spending programs are making campaign contributions to the pair of ostracized Senate Democrats, The New York Times reported Sunday.
But the money is still coming in from both sides jockeying for their vote. Manchin had received a four-figure donation, according to Politico, from former Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who is now a lobbyist. She also happens to be the sister of former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who was just named by President Joe Biden to be the manager of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law. Landrieu will control where those hundreds of billions will be allocated across the country.
Having the deciding vote is a profitable deal for the Democrats, according to the Times.
Sinema has raised $2.6 million through nine months, more than 2 1/2 times as much as the same period last year. Manchin has raised $3.3 million, which is more than 14 times as much as the same period last year.
Both still have three more years before their reelection campaigns, but Sinema has raised $6.1 million since taking office and has $4.5 million in the warchest. Manchin has raised about $3.8 million since his last reelection and $5.4 million on hand.
Sinema’s opposition to raising income tax rates have helped her bring in more money from Wall Street donors, while Manchin’s helping shrink the Build Back Better plan from $3.5 trillion to around $2 trillion, earned praise from Wall Street billionaire Kenneth Langone, who the Times called a Republican megadonor.
Langone had not previously contributed to Manchin, but he hailed his “guts and courage” and said he would throw “one of the biggest fundraisers I’ve ever had for him,” the Times reported.
“My political contributions have always been in support of candidates who are willing to stand tall on principle, even when that means defying their own party or the press,” said Wall Street billionaire Kenneth Langone, who the Times called a Republican megadonor and had not previously given to Manchin.
Another billionaire Republican donor, Stanley S. Hubbard, has written a check to Sinema in September over her holding out and is weighing doing the same for Manchin, according to the report.
“Those are two good people — Manchin and Sinema — and I think we need more of those in the Democratic Party,” Hubbard told the Times.
Sinema was a key architect of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law that was signed last Monday, but she whipped up GOP support on it by promising it would not have to pass simultaneously with the bigger Build Back Better plan.
But, instead, she is facing Democrat criticism of being a holdout because of the GOP donor cash tied to her vote.
“Sen. Sinema makes decisions based on one consideration: what’s best for Arizona,” Sinema spokesman John LaBombard told the Times.
The Times report mentioned a tie between the Democrats in a shared campaign finance consultant that helped fundraise through Texas, bringing in the GOP money.
G. Brint Ryan’s tax consulting firm’s website hails working at “liberating our clients from the burden of being overtaxed.” Ryan is a GOP donor who arranged the Manchin and Sinema fundraisers in Texas, telling the Times, the moderates might be “out of step with their party, but I tend to believe that they’re in the right.”
The reaching across the aisle for cash is crossing the line for wealthy liberals vowing to primary Sinema in 2024.
“A small group of right-wing Democrats backed by corporate cash, including Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are trying to destroy President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda,” Demand Progress wrote in a petition.
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