Donations to GOP drop as worries mount about the party’s finances

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Republican Party finances are becoming a concern for party members, former President Donald Trump’s advisers and others involved in the 2024 re-election effort, 10 people familiar with the matter said.

The Republican National Committee It said it had $9.1 million in cash on hand as of Oct. 30, the lowest amount for the RNC since February 2015, according to a Federal Election Commission report. That compares to $20 million at the same point in the 2016 election cycle and about $61 million four years ago when Trump was in the White House.

The Democratic National Committee reported $17.7 million as of Oct. 30, more than double the Republican Party’s a year before the election.

“It’s a revenue problem,” said Tennessee RNC member Oscar Brock. We’re doing what we always do to raise money: regular donor meetings, retreats, digital advertising, direct mail. But this year the return is much less. If you know the answer, I’d love to know. The workers were able to tighten spending to keep the party from going into the red.

Donors haven’t cut as many big checks to the RNC in recent years, and the party’s small-dollar program has also suffered, according to people familiar with the party’s finances, among others, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal party details. Some donors aren’t giving to the RNC because they think it will help Trump, which they don’t want to do, while others say they’d rather wait until 2024 to give. Some are disillusioned with the party’s leadership, people close to major donors said.

The party cut some of its spending this year after the budget did not come in, people familiar with the decisions said.

An RNC spokeswoman said the party, however, has deployed workers in 15 swing states to handle get-out-the-vote efforts and election monitoring. The party is filing 70 lawsuits challenging voting laws in 19 states and is encouraging Republicans to vote early and vote by mail — tactics Trump and his allies have rejected, though McDaniel has reiterated the importance of the “Your Vote Bank” initiative.

All federal caucuses — Democratic and Republican — have seen revenue declines starting in 2021, a trend operators often attribute to inflation and donor fatigue. And at times during Trump’s presidency, the DNC has had as much money on hand as the GOP now, records show.

In an interview, RNC Chairwoman Rona McDaniel said that donors are currently focused on giving to individual candidates during the presidential election, and that the party’s fortunes will improve after a candidate is found.

“I think there are a lot of donors who are totally committed to their candidate right now, I’ve gone through them all, and once the candidate is ready, I’ll be there. That’s what I hear more than anything. And they’re really firmly in their candidate’s camps, that’s normal,” McDaniel said. “There’s nothing unusual about that, because they know that once their nominee is in, we’re going to join them and work together to win the White House.”

The party’s spending boosts the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign with down-ballot races in the Senate and House of Representatives. In the year The party is strapped for cash in 2020, while Trump’s campaign has pulled ads due to financial constraints. RNC officials say the party currently has no debt.

Still, the RNC’s dwindling finances — combined with Republican losses in off-year elections this month, upsets in the 2022 midterms and chaotic presidential primary debates — have led to renewed questions about the committee’s effectiveness and McDaniel’s leadership.

“The RNC’s voting record since 2017 speaks for itself,” said Virginia RNC member Patty Lyman, who opposed McDaniels when she ran for another term in January. “The damage done in that chairmanship election was far greater than the drop in donations. Our base had moral failure.

In the year McDaniel, who took over as RNC chair in 2017, is the party’s second female leader and has been re-elected three times. Outside her office, photos of the 61 men and one woman who led the party adorn the walls. She’s tried to walk a tightrope by sticking with Trump and keeping close tabs on anti-Trump members, winning the majority of the committee’s 168 members.

The GOP chairs of Wisconsin and Iowa sent unsolicited statements to The Washington Post praising McDaniel’s leadership of the party.

“She has strong support in the RNC. She won by over 110 votes in the January election, and I think she has stronger support now than she did in January,” said North Carolina State Chairman Michael Mantle. “I think she and the RNC team are focused on what they need to focus on right now.”

The party “needs to raise more money” but believes it will be fixed next year, he said.

Perhaps most important to McDaniel, advisers said, is that Trump continues to support her — albeit more strongly than in the past — and link her to his 2016 victory. In a speech on October 28, Trump called McDaniel “a wonderful job” and “a really good friend.”

However, he has publicly and privately expressed his displeasure at the RNC’s opposition to the presidential debates. His team believed that McDaniel would not continue with the controversy after the announcement, and expressed surprise when she announced new ones.

“The RNC should save money on low-level debates. Use it with Democrats to stop stealing! If not, reform the RNC, NOW!!!” Trump wrote on Truth Social last week.

And Trump has voiced doubts about the RNC’s readiness for the 2024 campaign and its commitment to fighting what he says is voter fraud without evidence.

Some of his top advisers continue to complain about McDaniel, even though she has a defender in Trump’s top adviser, Susie Wills. “He doesn’t like it. [that] A Trump adviser said of McDaniel.

Donors sometimes complain to Trump about McDaniels, and Trump asks what people think of her, which is often a sad sign that someone is losing ground with him, said three people close to the former president. Anonymity to reveal internal conversations. People close to both McDaniels and Trump say they have frequent and friendly conversations.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

Republican frustration came to the fore this month after the GOP lost races for the Virginia legislature, the Kentucky governorship, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Ohio ballots on abortion rights.

In October, state party chairman Rich Anderson said the RNC rejected a request for more funding from the Virginia GOP this fall. RNC officials said they had prepared the budget based on unsolicited meetings with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s team earlier this summer.

Other state party officials were frustrated when the RNC asked for money to pay legal bills and was turned down, people familiar with the discussions said.

In TV and podcast interviews after the election, McDaniel repeatedly defended his refusal to pay the RNC, arguing that federal campaign finance laws limit the national committee’s involvement in state elections. In fact, there are no restrictions on RNC transfers to state parties.

McDaniel blamed Republican campaigns for avoiding the topic of abortion instead of getting on message. She encouraged him.After 15 weeks, it allows to prevent abortion and special cases. And her allies say most of her alleged election losses were elections where Trump was seen as a major issue in the polls.

Several conservative organizations have launched online attacks against McDaniels, questioning the party’s spending and preparedness and her loyalty to Trump.

During the third GOP debate, candidate Vivek Ramaswamy went so far as to call for McDaniels to resign. An online video shows Ramaswamy talking to right-wing influencer Benny Johnson, attacking McDaniels and deciding to use him as an opening salvo in the debate.

The chairwoman said she believes other groups and critics have a financial interest in attacking her.

“When you have the RNC and you’re in this position, there’s always going to be outside groups that criticize it because it helps them raise money. They have to have foil, right? So you oppose the RNC because it helps your organization raise money and get things done,” she said.

While Trump is calling for the RNC to cancel future debates, Ramaswamy and other candidates have complained about the standards, format, schedule and moderators. Trump is upset that the RNC is holding them back at all. In the year Dissatisfied with media-driven free-for-alls during the 2015 election campaigns, the RNC took over organizing the debates.

“I think we’ve taken a step forward in terms of having low-dollar donor bodies and also reasonable election limits that I think are very, very reasonable,” McDaniel said of the situation. 2015 in a larger field with lower ranking candidates contesting separately. “The RNC will always be a bit of a punching bag.”

But that approach has made the RNC a target of criticism this year, and some top Republican officials have privately acknowledged that the debates have often gone off the rails.

“Who in the world will schedule a one-night debate as country music?” [Association] Awards unless they’re trying to reach Republican primary voters?” said former RNC executive director Scott Reid, referring to the Nov. 8 debate. “I don’t think the party should be in the debate business. Let the conservative market place, and let the campaigns decide where they want to be seen. It was a big failure. “

The attacks took a personal toll on McDaniel. People close to him said that his career was not happy this year. They said she braved online criticism and frequently complained about problems with her work.

“Republicans have an endless capacity to eat ourselves and engage in circular firing squads as opposed to attacking the real culprits of America’s downfall,” said Steve Huntler, an adviser to megadonor Bernie Marcus, who backed McDaniels’ opponent in the January race for party chairman.

Arkansas RNC member Jonathan Barnett, who endorsed McDaniel’s challenger in January, said McDaniel appeared unfazed during her visit to the Southern RNC Caucus this month.

“Rona is going to take the punch, no problem,” he said. “It would be of no use to anyone at the RNC to do anything to get rid of her. We should all just focus on our states and presidential elections and move on.

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