In May, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) told Politico that he wasn’t in any rush to advance the Biden White House’s priorities and pass a Democratic budget reconciliation bill, saying, “there’s no magic date and there’s no magic time, there’s no magic number.” As the bill has been developed, Manchin, along with conservative Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, has worked to undermine it, pushing its 10-year spending total down to around $1.75 trillion and stripping out major programs in areas like clean energy and paid family leave.
In October, Manchin shot down a proposal from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to increase taxes on individuals with more than $1 billion in assets or who earn more than $100 million in three consecutive years, telling reporters that he didn’t like the idea of targeting people who create a lot of jobs and make a lot of philanthropic contributions.
Also last month, President Biden told a town hall audience, on Sinema’s inscrutable position on tax rates in the budget: “Where she’s not supportive is, she says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people, period.” The White House later clarified that other types of revenue raisers, including a corporate minimum tax, were on the table in negotiations with Sinema.
While Manchin and Sinema worked to delay and reduce the Democrats’ budget bill, they were raising campaign money from wealthy Republican donors, according to a SludgeCode for Democracy has provided data on campaign finance. Many of these donors made this year’s contributions to Sinema and Manchin, which were their first or only donations to Democrats in recent election cycles.
It’s uncertain whether Manchin or Sinema will vote for the package when it comes before the Senate. If either one of them votes against the bill, it is likely that it will be defeated. This would give Biden’s congressional Democrats a major legislative failure that could help Republicans in the midterms as well as in 2024.
Timothy Mellon, a Republican megadonor, and Patricia Mellon, his spouse, donated $4900 to Manchin on May 13, their first donation to Democrat. According to a tally by, the transportation magnate donated $66.2 million to conservative organizations in 2020. OpenSecretsHe is now the fourth largest donor to the right. Mellon’s donations last year included $20 million apiece to pro-Trump super PAC America First Action, the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund, and the Kevin McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund. Mellon donated only $2,800 to a federal Democrat last cycle: the presidential campaign for former representative Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. Timothy Mellon donated $2,900 to J.D., the Republican Senate candidate, in September. Vance is one of many GOP office seekers.
John W. Childs, a billionaire in private equity, made a rare donation on Sept. 19, at the time Sinema was being rehabilitated. holding fundraisers With business lobbying organizations that opposed the reconciliation bill. He donated $1,000 for her campaign committee. Last cycle, the GOP megadonor gave more than $3.1 million Conservative outside spending groups, such as the pro-Trump America First Action and more than $2.3 Million to federal candidates. Only $2,626 went to Democrats.
Childs has donated $266,300 to Scalise Leadership Fund this year in his broad-based GOP support. This was led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. The Boston-based Childs donated $80,400 to the conservative House Freedom Fund in the first quarter of this year and $11,600 to Lauren Boebert’s campaign on Feb. 23, among donations to other House Republicans like Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results. Childs donated $100,000 to the conservative Club for Growth’s super PAC in April, $500,000 to Republican joint fundraising committee Take Back the House 2022 in July, and $125,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in September.
Take Back the House, a committee that is affiliated with Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, and dozens of other Republican groups, has been a popular beneficiary of donations from Republican donors who contributed to Sinema or Manchin this year. Dozens of Manchin and Sinema’s donors this year have contributed a combined $1.6 million to Take Back the House 2022, according to Sludge’s review of data from Code for Democracy. McCarthy joined approximately 57% of his fellow caucus members in opposing the certification for the 2020 presidential election.
Billionaire Jeffery Hildebrand, founder of the Houston-based oil exploration company Hilcorp Energy, donated $250,000 to Take Back the House in May, then gave $10,800 to Manchin’s campaign committee and leadership PAC in August. In Hildebrand’s nearly 200 donations to Republican groups and candidates since 2017, Manchin appears to be the only Democratic beneficiary.
Stan Hubbard, a billionaire media company executive, donated $2,900 in September to Sinema. This was his first donation to a Democrat from 2019 Hubbard donated $2,900 to Sinema in September, his first donation to a Democrat since 2019.
W. Randall Fowler, a co-CEO of pipeline company Enterprise Products, donated $50,000 to Take Back the House in March, then gave $10,000 to Manchin’s committees in August. All of Fowler’s other political donations have been to GOP groups like the National Republican Congressional Committee, Republican candidates like Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, and a joint fundraising committee of Texas Sen. John Cornyn.
Enterprise Products employees and the PAC made a donation more than $113,000 Manchin received only one-fourth of his fossil industry contributions in the third quarter. Manchin was removing climate provisions like a methane charge on oil and natural gas wells. The company has employed Manchin’s son-in-law since last year.
Jimmy Haslam is the billionaire chairman and CEO of Pilot Flying J truck stop chain. He has been a frequent donor for Republican party groups in the past three cycles. Haslam donated $100,000 to the NRSC in March, April, and then donated $8700 to Sinema and Manchin in several contributions that began in June. His spouse Susan Haslam was a co-owner with him of the Cleveland Browns. Together, they gave $125,000 to Take Back the House. They also donated $36,500 to each NRSC and the Republican National Committee, among other GOP recipients. The Haslams donated $5600 last year to Richard Neal (Democratic Rep.), chair of the tax writing Ways and Means Committee. Other than that, they have almost exclusively given to GOP groups and candidates.
Harlan Crow, a billionaire in Dallas real estate, donated $2,800 to Manchin’s campaign on March 1, and $2,900 on June 30, to Sinema. Crow’s hundreds of donations in the past three election cycles have overwhelmingly been to Republicans, including $2,900 this past July to Vance’s campaign and donations to more than a dozen Republicans in the third quarter. Crow has donated more that $1 million to the Senate Leadership Fund (super PACs dedicated primarily to electing more Republicans in the Senate and House), and the Congressional Leadership Fund (super PACs dedicated mainly to electing more Republicans in the House and Senate).
Marc Lipschultz, cofounder and co-president at asset manager Blue Owl Capital donated $2,000 in June to Manchin. Previously a partner and the head of energy investments at private equity firm KKR, Lipschultz’s contributions appear to otherwise have gone exclusively to Republicans, including a $90,000 donation to the Senate Leadership Fund in December 2020 and $50,000 to a Cornyn joint fundraising committee in July.
Richard W. Weekley, a Houston real estate broker, has donated to more Republican senators this year. He also donated $5,800 in July to Manchin, his only donation to a Democrat.
Anthony De Nicola, chair of private equity firm WCAS, is a Republican donor who gave to Steve Scalise’s reelection and J.D. Vance’s Senate campaign this year before contributing $2,900 to Manchin in June and the same amount to Sinema on Sept. 30. Shortly after the November elections, De Nicola donated $150,000 towards the Senate Leadership Fund. De Nicola, a prolific donor to politics, has given almost exclusively to Republicans in addition to his donations for Sinema and Manchin.
Barry Volpert, co-founder and CEO of private equity firm Crestview Partners, gave $35,500 to the NRSC in January and contributed to several more Republican candidates before donating $2,900 to Manchin’s campaign on June 9. Volpert donated $36,500 in September to Take Back The House. His contributions to the past three cycles, which totalled more than 100, have gone largely to Republican politicians or party groups.
Courtney Pendergrass from Cleveland, Tennessee reports her occupation to FEC as a homemaker. Other times, she reports that she is employed as a business consultant by Jones Management. Jones Management’s companies include several. payday loan operators. Pendergrass, a prolific political donor, contributed $2,500 to Sinema’s campaign in June, her first donation to a Democrat since 2015. Pendergrass has donated numerous times to Republicans including MarshaBlackburn, Kevin McCarthy, Donald Trump.