How California Baby Carrots Turned Into a Cash Crop for New York Republicans

New York Public Radio

Republicans desperate to keep control of the House of Representatives are using a recent Supreme Court ruling to raise millions for vulnerable colleagues, including New Yorkers John Faso, John Katko and Claudia Tenney.

The fundraising effort is being led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and is known as Protect the House. It’s one of myriad ways for campaigns and activists to raise and spend money following years of Supreme Court decisions loosening the rules. Protect the House is what’s known as a joint fundraising committee, which is pretty much exactly as it sounds: Political groups join together to share the time and expense of fundraising — and share the money they raise. Donors can write one big check to Protect the House, and the money is distributed to dozens of candidates.

Until recently, the donors could only give $123,000 per cycle, total, to candidates and parties. But the Supreme Court struck down that cap in 2014, in a case known as McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission.

Brendan Fischer tracks campaign finance issues for the Campaign Legal Center. He scanned Protect the House documents and started adding up the numbers to figure out how much one person could give.“My rough math, there’s 24 candidates, there are two PACs… the PACs would be $5,000, each,” he said, taking notes. ”Twenty-four candidates, that would be, if it’s both for primary and general, $5,400.”

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