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McHenry, eyeing House Financial Services chair, racks up campaign donations

McHenry eyes panel chairmanship if Republicans retake House

Rep. Patrick T. McHenry says he would seek to become House Financial Services chairman if the Republicans retake the House after the November elections.
Rep. Patrick T. McHenry says he would seek to become House Financial Services chairman if the Republicans retake the House after the November elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Financial Services ranking Republican Patrick T. McHenry raised about $940,000 in campaign donations in the weeks leading up to and months after setting his sights on the panel chairmanship. 

McHenry, R-N.C., said in April that he would seek the chairmanship of the Financial Services Committee rather than pursue a position in party leadership if Republicans take the House in the midterm elections. Total receipts to his campaign committee from April to the end of June, at $940,000, more than doubled the $390,000 raised the previous quarter, according to Federal Election Commission filings. 

The Financial Services Committee is known for filling its members’ campaign coffers from the industries it oversees, and fundraising can play a part in securing leadership positions.

McHenry’s campaign has raised $2.8 million since the start of 2021 and ended the second quarter of this year with $1.6 million on hand, according to FEC filings. McHenry, who’s in a safe seat, has far outraised Democratic opponent Pamela Genant, who had raised $117,000 and had just $2,130 in her account at the end of June.

The financial services sector, including banks, investment firms, financial technology companies and service providers, is the top source of funding for McHenry’s campaign, accounting for more than a third of all donations since the start of this cycle in January 2021. From April to June, donations from financial services, along with the real estate, insurance and cryptocurrency sectors, rose sharply. 

McHenry wasn’t the Financial Services Committee’s top fundraiser. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has raised at least $10.2 million this cycle, according to the FEC. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, the panel’s most vulnerable member, also outraised McHenry with $4.8 million this cycle, including nearly $1.3 million during the second quarter.

McHenry’s fundraising includes contributions from several notable donors, including two who testified before the committee in the wake of the January 2021 GameStop trading volatility and faced criticism from committee Democrats for their companies’ treatment of retail investors during the stock trading frenzy.

Contributions from GameStop participants

Kenneth Griffin, the founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel LLC, and founder of the market maker Citadel Securities, donated the maximum $5,800 in the first quarter, and Robinhood Markets CEO Vladimir Tenev donated $5,800, part of $7,300 from Robinhood Markets employees in the second quarter. 

McHenry criticized Democrats, saying they were using the GameStop episode to further their financial regulatory agenda. The committee held three hearings on the event and advanced along party lines four bills in response to it, including two that would increase scrutiny of the two companies’ business models. The full chamber hasn’t acted on the bills.

House Financial Services may be addressing, or declining to address, more issues related to financial technology and cryptocurrency in the next Congress, a reflection of the growing interest in both. 

Individuals and political action committees tied to the financial services sector donated at least $366,000 to McHenry’s campaign last quarter, more than double the $155,000 raised the previous quarter, before he had publicly voiced his interest in the chairmanship. The sector donated at least $994,000 to the campaign this cycle, starting in January 2021 through the end of June this year. 

Financial services PACs donated at least $537,000 to McHenry’s campaign this cycle, with individuals working in the industry donating at least $451,000. Employees at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and Capital Group Companies, an investment manager with $2.6 trillion in assets managed, were the top industry donors last quarter, with workers at each firm donating about $20,000. 

McHenry favors lighter regulation for the financial industry and advocates allowing retail investors to buy shares in companies before they go public. He’s also a critic of the administration’s financial and banking regulators, particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission under the leadership of Chairman Gary Gensler. Those agencies are under the committee’s oversight.

Campaign donations from the real estate sector also rose last quarter, reaching at least $94,000. Second-quarter donations accounted for 71 percent of the total donations from the sector to McHenry’s campaign so far. Housing policy, including encouragement of new home construction, private ownership of public housing and home financing, are under the committee’s jurisdiction.

The cryptocurrency sector proved fertile fundraising ground for McHenry in the second quarter. Political spending by the sector is up across the board, as it faces greater scrutiny from lawmakers and prepares for potential regulation. 

Related: Crypto-linked super PACs boost spending on primary races

PACs and individuals tied to cryptocurrency donated at least $75,000 to McHenry’s campaign from April through June, up about 669 percent from the previous quarter. Cryptocurrency was the fourth-most lucrative sector for McHenry’s campaign last quarter, trailing financial services, real estate and insurance. 

Executives at Blockchain Capital, a venture capital fund invested in the sector, accounted for about a fifth of cryptocurrency-tied donations in the second quarter. Some also donated to GMI PAC, a super PAC supporting cryptocurrency-friendly candidates. GMI PAC funneled donations through Crypto Innovation, another PAC that spent $167,000 in support of McHenry’s reelection without coordinating with his campaign, according to FEC filings. 

Coinbase executives and the cryptocurrency exchange’s corporate PAC also gave to McHenry’s campaign to the tune of $11,600 in the second quarter, and a total of about $20,000 this cycle. 

McHenry appears on course to be raising more than other leaders of House Financial Services, including Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has raised $934,000 this cycle, with about $260,000 coming in the last quarter, according to campaign filings.

McHenry also raised more this cycle than the top Democrats on all six of the House Financial Services subcommittees. But he was outraised by three ranking members of subcommittees: Ann Wagner, R-Mo., who is also vice ranking member of the full committee and who fundraises with McHenry through the Wagner-McHenry Victory Fund, has raised $3.9 million; Tom Emmer, R-Minn., raised $3.2 million; and Andy Barr, R-Ky., raised $2.9 million since the start of 2021, according to FEC financial summaries. 

McHenry also raked in about $266,000 in donations in the second quarter to Innovation PAC, a leadership PAC that allows him to donate to other candidates. So far, McHenry has raised about $1.2 million for the PAC and spent about $100,000 in support of other House Financial Services Republicans. 

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