Politico Reports: Republican donors were horrified in November after pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for president and Congress with nothing to show for it. A year later they’re appalled by how little has changed, angered by the behavior of Republican lawmakers during a string of legislative battles this year capped by the shutdown, and searching for answers.
In conversation after conversation, donors express growing frustration with the party and the constellation of outside groups they’ve been bankrolling. After getting squeezed last year by an array of campaign committees, party committees and disparate super PACs, many of them are still sitting on their checkbooks — a worrisome sign for the party with the 2014 midterm elections fast approaching.
Some donors are looking to take matters into their own hands.
New York City GOP mega-bundler Paul Singer has held a series of informal, and a few very formal, discussions in recent months with other extremely wealthy donors about how best to spend their cash in 2014, including debating the idea of forming a new entity to play a serious role in the midterm races. Its focus would be on improving the quality of Republican candidates in the hopes of avoiding more Todd Akin-like candidates who blow eminently winnable races.
“He wants to win,” one donor who attended a session said of Singer. The donor stressed that the hedge fund billionaire’s meetings, like other informal gatherings among the monied class this year, were taking place well prior to the government shutdown.
Still, some donors think the reluctance about giving among their ranks may have reached an inflection point over the way a number of Republicans in Washington acquitted themselves the past few weeks.
Donors and business leaders, whose words used to carry great weight with candidates ever worried that the money spigot might be turned off, now face a new reality. It’s a Frankenstein syndrome of sorts, in which the candidates they’ve helped fund, directly or indirectly, don’t fear them, and don’t think they need them.
Many business leaders are exasperated by their diminished influence among congressional Republicans since the 2012 election, and by the rising clout of groups like the Senate Conservative Fund, which have run ads against incumbent Republican senators for not taking enough of a hard line on the shutdown.
Where there is agreement — as is the case with donors who believe the Republican National Committee should be shored up — there is also dissatisfaction with the slow pace of progress.
At issue is not just the shutdown, but legislative battles earlier this year, such as the stymied attempt at immigration reform. Several Republican donors said watching that effort run into headwinds among conservative House members, combined with the tortured standoff over the government shutdown and potential debt default, had left a sour taste in their mouths.0