A PAC formed last year by House Democrats to combat progressive primary challengers has so far relied almost exclusively on corporate PACs and lobbyists for its funding, according to a review of the group’s latest FEC disclosure report.
Three House members announced Team Blue PAC on June 3: Hakeem Jeffreys of New York, chairman, House Democratic Caucus; Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey, cochair, centrist Problem Solvers Caucus; Terri Sewell of Alabama (ex-vice chair, moderate New Democrat Coalition; member of Congressional Black Caucus); and Terri Sewell.
Team Blue PAC’s founders told NBC News its mission is to protect incumbents facing primaries in safe Democratic districts, where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee traditionally doesn’t focus its resources, engaging more in battleground districts.
“Team Blue PAC will support Democratic Members of the House who are facing strident electoral challenges, distortions of their record and ad hominem attacks,” the group’s website states. “Extremists and other outside forces will stop at nothing to divide our Caucus amid the uncertainty represented by a potentially tough redistricting process.”
The group has supported two Democratic incumbents so far: Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, who was challenged by Kina Collins, Justice Democrats-backed candidate, and Nevada Rep. Dina Titus, who is facing an Amy Vilela primary.
The PAC’s year-end report, released yesterday, shows that over half of the $152,000 it raised in the second half of 2021 came from PACsThe majority of these donations were made by NextEra Energy, Comcast and UBS Americas. UPS, New York Life Insurance Company and others. Several trade associations, including those representing the consumer credit sector, brokers and insurance agents, equipment manufacturers and realtors, donated $5,000.
Many of Team Blue PAC’s individual donorsWork at D.C. lobbying companies, including:
- Sarah Shive is a partner at Capitol Tax Partners. She represents clients such as AbbVie (Marathon Petroleum), Meta, and Qualcomm.
- Mike Goodman, principal of Cornerstone Government Affairs is a bipartisan firm. clients include Centene and Johnson & Johnson.
- Forbes Tate Partners senior vice president Stacey Rolland lobbying for clients like Target and Financial Company Options Clearing Corporation.
- Prominent Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf. His many lobbying clients as cofounder of the firm Subject Matter include Amazon.com, BP. General Dynamics. Private equity firm Blackstone Group. Verizon. Visa.
- Christina Antelo, a lobbyist, listed her employer as The Podesta Group. However, according to her LinkedIn profile she left to become CEO of Ferox Strategies many years ago. Antelo’s numerous lobbying clients include Disney, Eli Lilly, telecom industry group NCTA, Viatris, and Walmart.
- Jeff Ziarko, founder and CEO of Economic Policy Strategies, was a former lobbyist for the trade group, the International Franchise Association. In recent years, he has been a member of Economic Policy Strategies. participatedin the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) events
Jeff Horing, cofounder of Insight Partners venture capital firm, donated $5,000 after the last cycle donatingTo several Democratic groups, including $400,000 for super PAC Forward Majority Action. Robert Goodman, Robert Stavis and Robert Stavis, both partners in Bessemer Venture Partners, each contributed $5,000. Billionaire Jonathan Gray (COO of Blackstone’s private equity firm) contributed $2,500. Steven C. Koppel was a Sidley Austin partner whose practice focuses primarily on real estate private capital. He donated $1,000.
Only 45 of the 45 donations Team Blue PAC received were from individuals who weren’t employed by a company that hires lobbyists for their business interests on Capitol Hill.
Team Blue received donations of several industry groups, including $5,000 from UnitedHealth’s PAC, which is one of the largest national health insurance companies in terms of revenue, and the same amount from Fresenius and the Community Oncology Alliance trade group. The $4,000 total contribution came from the PAC of American Health Care Association and the National Emergency Medicine PAC. These groups represent long-term and acute care providers.
According to NBC News reportTeam Blue PAC had originally planned to spend the initial launch funds in defense for the primary contests of Rep. Danny Davis, Illinois, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York. Each candidate is facing a primary challenge. endorsedJustice Democrats: Kina Collins, a gun violence activist on the West Side Chicago, and Rana Abdelhamid (a nonprofit leader) in New York City. Team Blue PAC’s Q4 report shows that it donated the maximum of $5,000 to Davis’ campaign in December
Collins’ website showcases her support for a single-payer Medicare for All system, citing the health disparities in Illinois’ Seventh Congressional District. Collins was featured in media coverage about her campaign launch. called forMore forceful leadership and closer ties with the community. She also pointed out that she rejects corporate PAC donations.
Davis, who sits as a member on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee of the House, is one among over 100 Democratic representatives. co-sponsorsThe Medicare for All bill was introduced by progressive Rep. Pramila Japal (D-Wash.), in 2021. According to OpenSecrets data, health professionals have been Davis’ second-highest industry donor over his career. This includes doctors and related professional organizations. $286,000Since 1996 when he was elected as a member of the House.
Team Blue PAC also reported that it donated $5,000 to fifth-term Rep. Dina Titus, a Nevada Democrat who is currently being challenged by progressive activist Amy Vilela. A former accountant, Vilela ran in the 2018 Democratic primary for Nevada’s First Congressional District, finishing in third place, and was supported in that race by progressive PAC Justice Democrats, though she is not currently endorsed by the group. Vilela’s campaign, which centers around support for a single-payer health care system, was endorsedRep. Cori, a Justice Democrats affiliated freshman House member, was elected early last summer to replace incumbent Democrat Rep. Lacy Clay. The district includes St. Louis and Missouri.
Titus was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, and was reelected in the 2012 election. co-sponsored the House’s Medicare for All bill, and was previously the only memberNevada delegation to support this measure. Over $250,000 has been donated to the measure by the health professionals industry. $347,000Titus during her career.
Team Blue’s website does not feature a list of the candidates it has endorsed, and Rep. Jeffries’ D.C. office did not answer questions about how it views the perception that its donors are seeking special favors, or which other incumbents it will support.
One other incumbent joined Team Blue PAC: multimillionaire Rep. David Trone, D-Md.), co-founder of retailer Total Wine & More, donated $1,000. The Charter Schools Action PAC also donated $1,000. It claims that it raises money to support charter schools.