fundraising

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Meeks on Pence ‘laying low,’ the millennial caucus, and Reichert says leave investigations to the pros

Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin gets a hug from Washington Democrat Dan Kildee at a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade hearing on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Former Rep. Steve Stockman’s Staffer Sentenced in Fraud Case
Thomas Dodd pleaded guilty in March 2017

An aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, was sentenced to prison and fined. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Capitol Hill staffer, Thomas Dodd, was sentenced Wednesday for participating in an extensive scheme that involved defrauding charitable donors by laundering funds to pay personal and campaign expenses.

Dodd, 40, was an aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution and ordered to forfeit $153,044.28 in illicit gains.

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Rick Scott Spent Record $64 Million of His Own Money in Florida Senate Race
GOP senator-elect made fortune as health care executive

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), spent nearly $65 million of his own money on his Senate campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott will become the most junior member of the Senate next month after the 116th Congress is sworn in after defeating three-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. But that victory won without a steep price tag.

Scott spent a record $63.6 million of his own money on his campaign to oust Nelson and turn the Florida Senate delegation all red, according to his most recent Federal Elections Commission report.

Campaign Aide to Rep. Robert Brady Found Guilty on 9 Counts
Feds secure conviction on fraud spread over multiple election cycles

A federal jury found Rep. Robert Brady’s aide, Kenneth Smukler, guilty of 11 counts of breaking campaign finance laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal jury found Rep. Robert Brady’s top political strategist, Kenneth Smukler, guilty on nine counts of breaking campaign finance laws and obstructing a Federal Election Commission investigation.

The jury found Smukler guilty of conspiracy to violate federal law, making and causing unlawful campaign contributions and causing false statements to the FEC in connection with a 2012 congressional primary campaign in a Philadelphia-area congressional district.

Seven VP Candidates if Trump Dumps Pence for 2020 Re-Election Fight
Pence says they ‘had a good laugh’ over questions — but do they have a deal?

President Donald Trump (right) speaks with Vice President Mike Pence as first lady Melania Trump looks on during a Capitol ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence stood in the East Room of the White House after his boss put him on the spot. He smiled. He nodded. But he never uttered one word: Yes.

The moment, prompted by a reporter’s question during a rowdy post-midterm press conference on Nov. 7, was an attempt by President Donald Trump to quiet speculation that he had begun to question Pence’s loyalty and was mulling other potential running mates for his 2020 re-election campaign.

How FEC Babysitting Decision Could Pave Way for More Hill Diversity
Candidates, advocates say barrier has been broken for young mothers and middle-class candidates

Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath was among a handful of 2018 candidates who reported child care as part of their campaign expenses. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amy McGrath broke records with the millions of dollars she raised in her congressional bid in Kentucky. But for most of her campaign, the first-time Democratic candidate struggled to pay for one critical expense: the $15-per-hour babysitter that federal officials said she had to pay from her own pocket.

So she did what dozens of other candidates with young children do. She brought plastic cars and old puzzles to her campaign headquarters for after-school entertainment. She brought her kids to her stump speeches. And every time she was expected to attend an evening campaign event with her husband, she paid from a family budget already stretched to its limits, or she stayed at home. 

Money Doesn’t Always Buy (Electoral) Love, but It Can Help
Scott and Cisneros spent big on their own campaigns and won, while other self-funders tanked

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who won Florida's Senate race over the weekend, spent at least $64 million of his own money on his campaign. That kind of self-funding doesn’t always pay off though. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The victories of California Democrat Gil Cisneros and Florida Republican Rick Scott are yet another reminder that when it comes to running for public office, having personal wealth can be pretty helpful.

Both candidates spent millions of their own money and ultimately prevailed in races that went on long past Election Day. Cisneros, who won the lottery in 2010, kicked at least $9 million of his own money into his campaign for California’s 39th District, which The Associated Press called in his favor on Saturday.

In Suburban Strongholds, Blue Wave a Republican Wipeout
Democrats expected to hold over two thirds of suburban House seats next year

Democrat Jennifer Wexton, flanked by her mother, Paula Tosini, and husband, Andrew, delivers her victory speech Tuesday night after defeating GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s 10th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tuesday’s midterm elections have done more than surge Democrats into a respectable House majority: It also wiped out a large chunk of Republicans’ support in suburban strongholds, portending a significant shift in the political alignment of white suburbanites in the Trump era.

Almost all of the House Democratic gains came from the suburbs: They are projected to flip over two dozen seats in primarily suburban districts, sweeping out once-comfortable Republican incumbents including Reps. Pete Sessions in Texas, Peter Roskam in Illinois, and Erik Paulsen in Minnesota.

How the ‘No Corporate PAC’ Pledge Caught Fire
Three-quarters of Democratic challengers in top races are rejecting corporate PAC money

Democrat Andy Kim rejected corporate PAC money early on in his campaign. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

Andy Kim never expected to run for the House. Certainly not against the 19th wealthiest member of Congress.

When he was first considering a bid for New Jersey’s 3rd District, the former national security official didn’t like the questions corporate political action committees wanted candidates to answer. Already troubled by money in politics, Kim decided to reject corporate PAC money.