Money Talks
September 25, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appears to be getting desperate as his re-election race gets narrower and narrower.

Graham has brought in record-breaking fundraising hauls throughout his race — but Democrat Jaime Harrison has still ended up besting him so far this year. Graham admitted his struggles Thursday night in appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, pleading with Hannity's viewers to "help me" because "they're killing me money wise." Hannity then suggested it was famously liberal celebrities who were backing Harrison's campaign, despite the fact that both candidates have gotten a good deal of money from Hollywood, big media companies, and people outside of the state.

Graham made a similar plea on Fox & Friends Thursday morning, leading Harrison to conclude Graham knows "he's going to lose" this election.

As of the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Harrison has raised $28.6 million to Graham's nearly $30 million. Graham has about $5 million more than Harrison to spend in the last weeks of the race. The latest South Carolina Senate race poll showed Harrison and Graham statistically tied. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 22, 2020

Extending a pandemic unemployment boost is seemingly in consideration for Senate Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated his party wouldn't back extending the $600/week bonus by leaving it out of his preview of the next COVID-19 stimulus bill on Tuesday. But after some discussions, senators say a boost is back on the table — albeit one much, much smaller than the boost set to expire at the end of July.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 ranking GOP senator, told NBC News on Wednesday that Republicans are considering a short-term extension of the unemployment benefits going to millions of Americans out of work. "Discussions come down to both the duration and at what price point," he said. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) similarly indicated "we can't allow there to be a cliff in unemployment insurance," even if the Senate fails to arrange the next relief bill by the time the current CARES Act expires.

Republicans are discussing an additional $400/month on top of regular unemployment benefits, to be extended through December, sources tell CNBC. Democrats meanwhile want to extend the $600/week benefit through the end of the year, and included it in their $3.5 trillion version of the stimulus bill. Economists agree the the $600 sum should either continue through the year or even increase, according to a FiveThirtyEight survey. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 15, 2020

Democrats finally seem to be rallying around former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee brought in $81 million last month, the Biden campaign announced Monday. That's the most money Biden has raised throughout the 2020 campaign, and it's up $20 million from his and the DNC's joint haul in April.

A good deal of that May pull comes from big-dollar fundraisers, including one joint fundraising committee that allows individuals to give up to $620,800 that's split between Biden’s campaign, the DNC, and 26 state parties, Bloomberg notes. But the campaign also said it saw 1.5 million new backers "in the last few weeks," and that the average individual contribution was $30.

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee haven't released their May numbers yet, but raised a bit more than Biden in April at $61.7 million, and brought in $14 million alone on President Trump's birthday, which was Sunday. Trump and the RNC have about $250 million cash on hand, compared to Biden and the DNC's $100 million. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 21, 2019

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn made it official: He will be a no-show at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, defying a subpoena and threats of enforcement from House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). In a letter to Nadler, McGahn's lawyer cites Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel's "detailed and persuasive" memo on why McGahn should say no, and the stated wishes of McGahn's "former client," President Trump.

There are other reasons that may be factoring in McGahn's decision, too. "If McGahn were to defy Trump and testify before Congress, it could endanger his own career in Republican politics and put his law firm, Jones Day, in the president's crosshairs," The Washington Post notes. "Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with the firm, which is deeply intertwined in Washington with the GOP." In fact, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing itemized by ProPublica, the Republican National Committee's top expense in April was $2 million for "legal and compliance services" to Jones Day, out of $14.3 million total spending last month.

Trump's motives are more clear. "Trump has fumed about McGahn for months, after it became clear that much of Mueller’s report was based on his testimony," the Post reports. "The president has bashed his former White House counsel on Twitter and has insisted to advisers that the attorney not be allowed to humiliate him in front of Congress, much as his former personal legal fixer Michael Cohen did."

Previous administrations have also held that close presidential advisers like the White House counsel are immune from compelled congressional testimony about their White House work, though a federal judge disagreed in 2008, the Post reports, ruing that former White House Counsel Harriet Miers had to at least show up to congressional hearings. Peter Weber

December 9, 2015

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump's increasingly strident calls to stop allowing Muslims into the U.S. and monitor or shut down mosques isn't very popular among Muslims, either in the U.S. or around the world. Trump may not care, given the very small Muslim population in the U.S., but there is at least one group of Muslims Trump has been courting for years — Gulf Arab businessmen — and they aren't pleased with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, either, The Associated Press reports.

Trump has done business in the Gulf Arab emirates for years, especially Dubai, including licensing his name for golf courses and starting development on luxury hotels and other real estate projects, and he has pushed to expand his hotel business in the region to 30 hotels by 2020. Now, Trump's brand is suffering. Dubai's Landmark Group is pulling all Trump home decor items from its 180 Lifestyle stores because, it said, it "values and respects the sentiments of its customer."

One of Trump's partners in the aborted 62-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, Emirati business magnate Khalaf al-Habtoor publicly backed Trump's presidential run in early August, but changed his mind late last month, throwing his support to Hillary Clinton in a column in the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National. "If he comes to my office, I will not let him in," al-Habtoor tells AP. "I reject him." The Emirati newspaper Gulf News was less charitable, writing Wednesday that Trump's "extremism is no different than that of Daesh," or the Islamic State. "Zip it, Donald," the paper added. "Just zip it." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads