Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), two lawmakers who have insisted on shrinking Biden’s domestic legislative priorities, are reaping the benefits for their actions in the form of lucrative campaign donations from Republican donors — many of whom have never given to Democrats before.
According to a report by The New York Times on Sunday, which cites Federal Election Commission filings, Sinema has been increasingly seeing donations from right-leaning Wall Street donors for opposing corporate and personal tax increases that would help fund Biden’s domestic agenda. Manchin, meanwhile, has gotten more cash from donors who typically support the GOP as he insists on strictly limiting funding for social programs and climate change mitigation efforts contained in Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. Manchin, for example, is largely responsible for reducing the total funding for the Build Back Better from an originally-proposed $3.5 billion to where it now stands, at around $2 trillion. That number could go even lower as the Senate now considers making changes to the legislation passed by the House on Friday.
Their obstructionism appears to be paying off, and quite well. Sinema has raised $2.6 million in the first nine months of this year, which is more than twice as much as she raised last year over the same period. Manchin has seemingly benefited even more. He has brought in $3.3 million through September of this year, which is more than 14 times the amount he raised in the same time frame last year.
Many of these Republican donors giving to Manchin and Sinema, the paper reported, have never donated to either of the senators until the past few months, when they both received massive publicity for their opposition to Democratic priorities. Speaking to The Times, billionaire Stanley S. Hubbard explained why he wrote a check to Sinema for the first time in September and said that he may donate to Manchin as well. “Those are two good people — Manchin and Sinema — and I think we need more of those in the Democratic Party,” he said.
Some of the other Republican donors who have sent checks to Manchin and Sinema for the first time recently include Cleveland Browns owner James A. Haslam III, as well as Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate developer who is friends with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Manchin additionally received donations from Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oil and gas billionaire, Trump fundraiser Roy W. Bailey and banker Andrew Beal, who has given $3 million to a Trump-supporting super PAC over three years. Goldman Sachs executives have also collectively donated tens of thousands of dollars to Sinema.
In addition to traditionally Republican donors, Sinema has another lucrative source of campaign cash: multilevel marketing companies. This past summer alone, Sinema received $2500 donations from political action committees associated with Amway (owned by Trump education secretary Betsy DeVos’ family), Isagenix, Nu Skin Enterprises, and USANA Health Sciences. Richard Raymond Rogers, the executive chair of Mary Kay, and Herbalife also gave the senator $2500.
Manchin has become so buddy-buddy with GOP donors that one billionaire Trump donor bragged that he calls the senator every week. “I call him every week and say, ‘Joe, you’re doing great. Stay tough. Stay tough, buddy.’ He’s phenomenal,” billionaire Nelson Peltz said.