Hogsett and Gossett
Manchin and Sinema find financial support from G.O.P. donors
By Jake Gibson
Washington, DC – Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has taken in more than $817,000 in contributions from individuals and PACs associated with the insurance industry, the largest industry of donation for a Democratic Senator up for re-election this November, a Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows. While Manchin’s net worth has doubled over the past two years, his popularity in West Virginia is in decline. In January, Manchin’s approval rating dipped to a new low at 29%, according to a poll released by Public Policy Polling. Over the past two years, Manchin has earned a significant amount of money from the insurance industry, despite being a member of the committee with the most oversight over health care reform, the Senate Finance Committee. Manchin’s track record on the finance panel has been lackluster. Recently, the senator has been responsible for several controversial issues like confirming President Trump’s Attorney General pick Jeff Sessions and advising President Trump on his campaign’s conflicts of interest. He’s also given signals that he would rather maintain a fragile relationship with the president than stand up to the White House. Manchin received $81,000 from insurance industry contributors since last January. Insurance providers include major companies such as Anthem, Aetna, and UnitedHealth Group, as well as policy advisers groups like the American Medical Association. He received less than $2,000 from one healthcare provider, the University of West Virginia Hospitals and Health Centers, although that group has given Manchin and his staff more than $13,000 in total over the years. The following race, between Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and challenger Richard Ojeda, is another indication of the importance of the insurance industry to Republican Senate candidate Jim E. Talent. Capito is the richest Republican up for re-election with a net worth of more than $45 million. Talent, by contrast, has a net worth of just under $10 million, but he has received more than $175,000 in contributions from the insurance industry during the second quarter of 2017 alone. Over the last two years, Capito has seen money flow to her campaign like other wealthy Republican incumbents, even as she has won reelection. She has gotten $27,300 from insurance industry donors since last January. But he has also raised money from industry donors whose sectors did not fare so well under President Obama, including pharmaceuticals and the railroad industry. In fact, he has received $45,950 from industry donors over the past four years, and $4,750 since taking office in 2013. The other insurance-heavy races are also worth examining. Among Republicans running for re-election in 2018, Montana is the only race that more than doubles the amount of money raised from the insurance industry over the last two years. Former Democratic Senator Jon Tester has received $1.8 million from insurance sector donors since his reelection in 2016, which includes $1.3 million from insurance sector donors between January 2017 and July 2017 alone. On the Democratic side, Martha McSally (AZ) has taken in more than $311,000 since becoming a candidate in 2017. McSally will need a healthy amount of insurance industry dollars to raise enough money to compete in a state where insurers have been accused of underpaying claims and are not as politically popular as they once were. As a result, many of McSally’s major contributors include pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi and Pfizer. The family of retired Navy SEAL and political newcomer Adam Kwasman have also made McSally a key donor. Since taking office, McSally has also received $27,000 from payday lenders. Considering the state’s status as a financial hub, the payday loan industry will likely be a popular alternative for local businesses. This distinction could prove to be advantageous in a state that is not only home to a large number of residents seeking loans but is also likely to be saturated with businesses looking to gain a piece of the payday loan market.