WASHINGTON –As a committee chairman with close ties to party leadership, Roswell U.S. Rep. Tom Price has used the fruits of his fundraising prowess to back the campaigns of fellow House Republicans and Georgia state legislators.
However, Price has given little to the campaigns of U.S. senators, a decision that may have an impact as he faces members of the chamber during his confirmation hearings for health and human services secretary next month.
An analysis of six years of federal campaign finance data shows that while Price gave to dozens of House colleagues; local, state and national branches of the Republican Party; and, more recently, state legislators as he appeared to eye a run for governor, the number of sitting senators he’s given money to can be counted on one hand.
Price has given $2,000 each to the campaigns of Georgia U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, according to the federal data. The six-term lawmaker also donated the same amounts to the campaign committees of U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., back in 2012, when they were both running for seats in the U.S. House.
Political donations to senators don’t necessarily have a direct impact on a nominee’s confirmation chances, but they certainly don’t hurt when it comes to building relationships in Washington.
Price’s giving habits come in contrast to some of President-elect Donald Trump’s other Cabinet picks.
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary, has given more than $167,000 since 1990 to 20 GOP senators who will now have a role in confirming her, according to the money-in-politics website Open Secrets.
The same site reported that Linda McMahon, tapped to head the Small Business Administration, gave nearly $651,000 to 25 senators over the last 16 years, while Secretary of Labor pick Andy Pudzer gave almost $152,000 to 16 senators since 1992.
Meanwhile, some of Trump’s other Cabinet nominees such as Housing and Urban Development pick Ben Carson and Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin have donated little to senators over the years.
Price’s campaign committee ended November with nearly $2.3 million in the bank, a sizable war chest for a House member.
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