Senate Minority Leader mitch McConnell issued a stern warning to Republican senators in a private meeting not to sign on to a bill from Sen. Josh Hawley.
McConnell privately warned GOP senators they would face ‘incoming’ from center-right if they signed onto Hawley bill to limit corporate money in campaigns.
He listed off 17 GOP senators (including Hawley) who won their seats thanks to his outside group. https://t.co/8fXn1Wqx3y
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 31, 2023
Hawley is attempting to pass a bill which would limit political spending from publicly traded corporations, including expenditures, political ads and other electioneering communications from super PACs supporting election campaigns.
In a statement, Hawley said he is putting forward the bill while claiming corporate America has “funneled billions” of dollars to support politicians who “favor their woke, social agendas” instead of American voters’ interests.
“This legislation would hold mega-corporations’ feet to the fire and stop their dollars from buying our elections,” Hawley added.
Big corporations have too much control over our politics. It’s time to get them out of our elections. My bill would ban publicly traded corporations from making political contributions https://t.co/secRpj02BB
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 31, 2023
According to multiple sources familiar with the Tuesday lunch meeting, McConnell warned GOP senators that they could face “incoming” from the “center-right” if they signed onto Hawley’s bill.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) November 1, 2023
He also read off a list of senators who won their races amid heavy financial support from the Senate Leadership Fund, an outside group tied to the GOP leader that spends big on TV ads in battleground Senate races.
On that list of senators: Hawley himself, according to sources familiar with the matter.
McConnell has long been a chief opponent of tighter campaign finance restrictions. But there’s also no love lost between McConnell and Hawley, who has long criticized the GOP leader and has repeatedly called for new leadership atop their conference.
Just on Tuesday, Hawley told CNN that it was “mistake” for McConnell to be “standing with” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, in their push to tie Ukraine aid to an Israel funding package.
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY SLAMS MITCH MCCONNELL FOR 'STANDING WITH' CHUCK SCHUMER pic.twitter.com/7mRhqXre4r
— 1776 (@TheWakeninq) October 31, 2023
In an interview, Hawley defended his bill and said that corporate influence should be limited in elections.
“I think that’s wrong,” Hawley told CNN. “I think it’s wrong as an original matter. I think it’s warping our politics, and I see no reason for conservatives to defend it. It’s wrong as a matter of the original meaning of the Constitution. It is bad for our elections. It’s bad for our voters. And I just think on principle, we ought to be concerned.”
According to a list of senators obtained by CNN, McConnell singled out a number of lawmakers who benefited from his outside group over the last three cycles:
Mike Braun of Indiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Katie Britt of Alabama, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Ted Budd of North Carolina, JD Vance of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
In 2018, Hawley benefited from more than $20 million from McConnell’s group.