With the 2022 election cycle well underway, fundraising for congressional races is rising. All members of Congress filed new campaign finance documents last week, detailing their fundraising and expenditures between April and June.
The bottom line: Lawmakers — especially those in the most competitive races — are under intense pressure to raise money each and every day.
“Voters elect lawmakers to come to Washington to legislate, provide oversight, and assist their constituents, but raising campaign cash is essentially a second full-time job for most members of Congress, especially those in competitive reelection races,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “Too often, this campaign cash comes from wealthy donors and special interests with business before Congress. Americans across the political spectrum want to see reforms that help make Congress more responsive to all Americans, not just the wealthy and the well-connected.”
Earlier this month, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) told the Epoch Times that “members of Congress have become increasingly focused on fundraising for their next election instead of doing the work they were elected to [do].” Gallagher recently teamed up with Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) to introduce a bipartisan bill that would prohibit members of Congress from fundraising while Congress is in session.
Here are some key numbers to know, based on an Issue One review of these new filings.
The median amount of money raised during the second quarter of 2022 by a sitting senator running for reelection this year was $1.8 million — the equivalent of about $19,300 per day. That’s more than eight times as much money as their colleagues who are not facing reelection this election cycle, who typically raised $217,000 between April and June — about $2,400 per day.
The highest amount a single sitting senator up for reelection raised during the second quarter was $17.3 million, or roughly $190,000 per day. This fundraising powerhouse was Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA). His general election opponent, Republican Herschel Walker, raised $5.9 million during the same time period, or about $65,000 per day. During the same period, the most prolific fundraiser running for reelection in the House who wasn’t self-funding their campaign was Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who raised $3.9 million between April and June, or about $43,100 per day.
Combined, all incumbent senators raised nearly $119 million from individuals, political action committees, and other sources between April and June. That’s roughly 13% more than all incumbent senators raised during the same time period two years ago. In total, since January 2021, incumbent senators have raised more than $605 million for their reelection campaigns.
The median amount of money raised between April and June by a member of the House of Representatives running for reelection in 2022 was $310,000 — or about $3,400 per day. The median amount raised by a freshman House member was $336,000 — or about $3,700 per day. The typical House incumbent running for reelection in a race won by 5 percentage points or less in 2020 raised roughly $826,000 during the second quarter — about $9,100 per day, or nearly 2.7 times as much money as the typical House member.
Combined, all House members raised $207 million from individuals, political action committees, and other sources between April and June. That’s 40% more than all House members raised during the same time period two years ago. Since January 2021, House members have raised a total of about $965 million for their reelection campaigns.
93% of members of Congress — including 92% of House members and all but two senators — have leadership PACs, political action committees that operate in addition to lawmakers’ official campaign committees. These PACs are often criticized by liberals and conservatives as slush funds funded by lobbyists and special interests. Created in the late 1970s as a way for members of Congress to raise extra money to give away to fellow politicians to boost their own influence, leadership PACs open the door to corruption in two ways: Their funding often comes from special interest groups with business before Congress, and some politicians use them to fund lavish lifestyles, often under the guise of fundraising.