First on CNN: House GOP group rakes in checks even without more Adelson money


Story highlights

  • The PAC says it will report having raised $5.4 million in just the first 20 days of October
  • The largest donor to CLF in the first three weeks of October was Stephen Schwarzman

The Congressional Leadership Fund says it will report having raised $5.4 million in just the first 20 days of October, a fundraising rush that the group attributes to its blessing from House Speaker Paul Ryan. But perhaps concerning to national Republicans, casino titans Sheldon and Miriam Adelson — who have given almost half of the money that the group has raised this cycle — did not choose to reinvest in the super PAC during the homestretch.

Yet their gifts in August have put the super PAC in what it considers is a strong enough financial position to beat back any unlikely national wave that could carry the Democrats to the House majority. The super PAC on Wednesday rolled out a late advertising campaign that implicitly acknowledges that Donald Trump is likely to lose the White House, and that a Republican majority in the House would not be a “rubber stamp” for Hillary Clinton’s agenda.

“They know that we are heading into a difficult environment at the top of the ticket,” Mike Shields, the head of the PAC, said of its donors. But he attributed the success more directly to Ryan’s broad national donor base. “If you want him to be successful, we need to have a firewall built in the House of Representatives and elect Republicans to Congress to stop bad policy from happening.”

The PAC’s top donors in October reflect diverse opinions of Trump: Former Senate candidate Linda McMahon gave the group $250,000 and is also the third biggest overall donor to Trump groups. Yet Bill Oberndorf, a California hedge fund manager, has been a leading critic of Trump and gave the exact same amount to the PAC.

The largest donor to the Congressional Leadership Fund in the first three weeks of October was Stephen Schwarzman, the head of Blackstone, who gave $1.7 million.

The corresponding Democratic group, House Majority PAC, has not yet released its first October fundraising numbers.

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