Lilly & Company Joined Congressman Kevin Brady’s Team March 2013…September 27th 2014
WASHINGTON - Four years ago, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady was regarded as a low-profile, hardworking GOP stalwart from The Woodlands with a fledgling political action committee that raised less than $10,000 for his Republican colleagues - pocket change in the congressional money game.
For the November midterm elections, with Republicans reaching for a historic majority in the U.S. House, Brady's revamped leadership PAC has pulled in $364,000 - part of a $4 million war chest amassed among his various political organizations, including his own re-election campaign.
In a business where money talks, Brady's muscular new fundraising is an important measure in his rivalry with Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to become the next chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Brady's signature policy interest - tax reform.
The transformation is a testament not only to Brady's greater seniority and connections in the halls of Congress but also to a fundamental principle of Washington politics: You have to pay to play.
"There are very high expectations of every chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, both on substance - leading on issues like taxes, trade and health care - but also on fundraising," Brady said. "That was an area I needed to improve in, and I was determined to exceed all expectations."
Party leaders have noticed. In an effort to close a fundraising gap with House Democrats, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden tapped Brady and his three Washington housemates to lead a "Battleground" push to raise money and collect dues from other GOP House members.
By last week, the effort had netted an unprecedented $25 million in pledges. Meanwhile, Brady, working through his Making America Prosperous PAC and Brady Victory Fund, has committed $1.6 million to the NRCC to help elect Republicans in competitive races across the nation, including San Antonio Republican Will Hurd, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Pete Gallego of Alpine.
That total has made Brady, now in his ninth term, one of the National Republican Congressional Committee's top six fundraisers this election cycle.
Image removed by sender. Rep. Kevin Brady's leadership PAC pulled in $364,000 for this year's midterm elections, compared to $50,000 two years ago. Despite stepping up his funds, he still faces an uphill battle against Rep. Paul Ryan, his competitor for the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Kevin Brady's leadership PAC pulled in $364,000 for this year's midterm elections, compared to $50,000 two years ago. Despite stepping up his funds, he still faces an uphill battle against Rep. Paul Ryan, his competitor for the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
"He's quietly become a fundraising powerhouse in his own right," said Minnesota U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, one of Brady's D.C. roommates and collaborators in the Battleground project.
The Battleground initiative is a major component of what the Republicans are calling the "Drive to 245," an ambitious effort to reach the largest GOP majority since the 1940s. To succeed, Brady and Company would have to engineer a net gain of 11 House seats in November, a goal most neutral handicappers see as a stretch.
Walden calls it an "aspirational goal." House Democrats, for their part, would need a net gain of 17 seats to take back the majority. Pundits consider that unlikely, given the strong headwinds facing Democrats with President Barack Obama's low approval ratings.
While control of the Senate is up for grabs this fall, there aren't enough House districts in play this year for Brady to help flip.
"There aren't a lot of competitive seats left," he said, "but it's within reach."
Either way, Brady has established himself as a player in Washington's big money game.
"Kevin Brady is our Battleground chairman and has been a huge team player when it comes to helping the NRCC achieve its goal in the Drive to 245," Walden said. "Every cycle, Kevin is one of the first members to step up and commit his time to the cause."
Lilly & Company client makes bid for Ag ChairJuly 2nd 2014
7/2/14 5:01 AM EDT
Mike Conaway has quietly emerged as a Republican rainmaker, building some major political capital in advance of his likely run for chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress.
The Texas Republican has helped bring in more than $800,000 for other House GOP lawmakers in the second quarter of 2014 alone, according to a preview of fundraising numbers shared with POLITICO and confirmed by sources in the Republican fundraising world.
Though grass-roots conservative stalwart Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) also has been mentioned as a potential candidate, Conaway already is thought to be the favorite to take over for Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) when he is term-limited out of the Agriculture Committee chairmanship at the end of this Congress. But Conaway hasn’t likely hurt his chances by holding events that benefit both top party leadership as well as rank-and-file backbenchers and emerging as a major contributor to GOP efforts to expand the party’s majority.
“We help folks in a variety of ways,” said the five-term congressman, who also now has the difficult job of chairing the House Ethics Committee. “I go to their fundraisers. We give them money directly. We give money to the [National Republican Congressional Committee]. Primarily the fundraising and other efforts are aimed at keeping the House under Republican control. If it works to help with the chairmanship, that’s great.”
Conaway’s second-quarter fundraising haul includes almost $230,000 for new members of the House Agriculture Committee at a June event at the Capitol Hill Club. He also organized an event benefiting House Speaker John Boehner back in Texas and appeared with the speaker at another agriculture event that netted $115,000 for the party.
Additionally, Conaway’s helped raise $53,000 for the NRCC’s Young Guns candidate recruitment program, and $21,000 for the committee’s Patriot program — an incumbent protection effort designed to assist vulnerable members.
Other events include an appearance with Rep. Tom Rice in South Carolina that raked in more than $60,000. He’s also kicked in nearly $40,000 from his own campaign and leadership PAC to other Republican causes and candidates in the second quarter.