Tim Huelskamp Committee Assignments 1

Top Contributors, 2015 - 2016

ContributorTotalIndividualsPACs
Ariel Corp$18,900$18,900$0
Fischer Homes$16,200$16,200$0
Kmg Tool$16,200$16,200$0
Onyx Collection$16,000$16,000$0
Russell Stover Candies$13,500$13,500$0

Top Industries, 2015 - 2016

IndustryTotalIndividualsPACs
Oil & Gas$64,697$51,697$13,000
Republican/Conservative$64,249$35,319$28,930
Retired$49,826$49,826$0
Misc Manufacturing & Distributing$44,700$44,700$0
Leadership PACs$35,752$0$35,752

Total Raised vs. Average Raised

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NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2015 - 2016 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released electronically on 05/18/17 for Fundraising totals, Source of Funds and Total Raised vs Average, and on 02/20/18 for Top Contributors and Industries.  ("Help! The numbers don't add up...")

WHY DON'T THE NUMBERS ADD UP?

Sometimes it's hard to make apple-to-apple comparisons across some of the pages in a candidate's profile. Here's why:

Summary numbers - specifically "Total Raised and Spent" and "PAC/Individual Split" - are based on summary reports filed by the candidates with the Federal Election Commission. All other numbers in these profiles ("Quality of Disclosure," "Geography" and "Special Interests") are derived from detailed FEC reports that itemize all contributions of $200 or more.

There is also a time lag in posting the information. While summary numbers are reported almost immediately by the FEC -- and listed quickly on OpenSecrets -- processing and analyzing the detailed records takes much longer. For that reason, summary numbers are usually higher (and more current) than the numbers based on detailed records.

HOW CURRENT ARE THESE FIGURES?

The figures in these profiles are taken from databases uploaded by the FEC to the internet on the first day of every month. Those databases are only as current as the FEC has been able to compile by that date (see the note above about lag times for data entry).

The Center updates figures for "Total Raised and Spent" and for "PAC/Individual Split" a few days after the first of the month. The remaining figures - based on detailed contribution data - is updated by the Center after the 20th of every month. This gives us time to analyze the contributions and categorize them by industry and interest group.

The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Why (and How) We Use Donors' Employer/Occupation Information

The organizations listed as "Top Contributors" reached this list for one of two reasons: either they gave through a political action committee sponsored by the organization, or individuals connected with the organization contributed directly to the candidate.

Under federal law, all contributions over $200 must be itemized and the donor's occupation and employer must be requested and disclosed, if provided. The Center uses that employer/occupation information to identify the donor's economic interest. We do this in two ways:

  • First, we apply a code to the contribution, identifying the industry. Totals for industries (and larger economic sectors) can be seen in each candidate and race profile, and in the Industry Profile section of the OpenSecrets website.
  • Second, we standardize the name of the donor's employer. If enough contributions came in from people connected with that same employer, the organization's name winds up on the Top Contributor list.

Of course, it is impossible to know either the economic interest that made each individual contribution possible or the motivation for each individual giver. However, the patterns of contributions provide critical information for voters, researchers and others. That is why Congress mandated that candidates and political parties request employer information from contributors and publicly report it when the contributor provides it.

In some cases, a cluster of contributions from the same organization may indicate a concerted effort by that organization to "bundle" contributions to the candidate. In other cases—both with private companies and with government agencies, non-profits and educational institutions—the reason for the contributions may be completely unrelated to the organization.

Showing these clusters of contributions from people associated with particular organizations provides a valuable—and unique—way of understanding where a candidate is getting his or her financial support. Knowing those groups is also useful after the election, as issues come before Congress and the administration that may affect those organizations and their industries.

METHODOLOGY

The figures profiled here include money from two sources: These contributors were either the sponsors of a PAC that gave to the politician, or they were listed as an individual donor's employer. Donors who give more than $200 to any federal candidate, PAC or party committee must list their occupation and employer. Based on that information, the donor is given an economic code. These totals are conservative, as not all of the individual contributions have yet been classified by the Center.

In cases where two or more people from the same family contributed, the income-earner's occupation/employer is assigned to all non-wage earning family members. If, for instance, Henry Jones lists his employer as First National Bank, his wife Matilda lists "Homemaker" and 12-year old Tammy shows up as "Student," the Center would identify all their contributions as being related to the "First National Bank" since that's the source of the family's income.

Although individual contributions are generally categorized based on the donor's occupation/employer, in some cases individuals may be classified instead as ideological donors. A contribution to a candidate may be given an ideological code, rather than an economic code, if the contributor gives to an ideological political action committee AND the candidate has received money from PACs representing that same ideological interest.

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center: info[at]crp.org

Last fall, Rep. Tim Huelskamp banded together with a group of fellow conservatives to push John Boehner into early retirement — payback after the former speaker booted Huelskamp off the Agriculture Committee, his rural district’s most prized panel in Congress.

Now the Kansas Republican is fighting for his political life against a conservative challenger who’s campaigning as a pragmatic alternative and tagging Huelskamp as a “career politician” incapable of delivering for his district. And in an only-in-D.C. twist, the Freedom Caucus member is pleading with Boehner’s replacement, Paul Ryan, to save his hide by reinstalling him on the Agriculture panel.

Story Continued Below

The episode marks an unexpected moment in the evolution of the Freedom Caucus. The roughly 40-strong group of conservative agitators that drove Boehner out of office has long demanded that leadership stay out of House primaries; now some members of the caucus are desperately seeking Ryan’s help in a Republican vs. Republican contest. But it also shows how quickly even the most anti-establishment Republican incumbent — Huelskamp was first elected in the 2010 tea party wave — can be recast as a creature of Washington in a GOP primary.

The situation has created a management headache for Ryan, who’s under heavy pressure from Huelskamp and his Freedom Caucus allies to publicly commit to reinstalling the congressman on the prized committee next year.

Conservatives say that when Ryan was locking down support last fall to become speaker, he promised to back Huelskamp’s effort to rejoin the panel. An announcement from the speaker now, they say, would boost Huelskamp’s bid to keep his seat because his opponent, Roger Marshall, reminds voters at every turn that the incumbent no longer has a voice on agriculture issues.

“Speaker Ryan many months ago said he wanted Tim Huelskamp back on the committee, and I think it’s important that we recognize that that’s the speaker’s desire,” Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a brief interview. “The speaker’s opinion of wanting Mr. Huelskamp is extremely important, not only to us because it’s what the speaker told us, but to the voters in [Huelskamp’s] home state.”

Ryan has been noncommittal in response. He knows that if he grants this favor, others in tough reelection battles will want similar treatment. GOP leaders also believe it’s premature to be talking about committee assignments four months before an election in which Republicans are expected to lose seats.

“After accepting the speakership, Speaker Ryan told all members that they were starting with a clean slate, and he meant it,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. “These assignments will ultimately be decided by the steering committee at the end of the year,” referring to the panel that decides committee makeups.

Huelskamp’s office would not comment on the record for this story. But the request comes as Huelskamp’s opponent Marshall, a physician, has closed in on the incumbent, tightening the gap to a 1-point margin, according to Marshall’s own internal polling.

Huelskamp is racking up a roster of conservative endorsements, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the National Rifle Association and the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. And the conservative Club for Growth super PAC recently launched a $200,000 TV ad attacking Marshall.

But the race is competitive financially: Huelskamp has raised $517,000 in the cycle to date, with $836,000 cash on hand, while Marshall, who’s partially self-funded his campaign, has raised more than $700,000 in the cycle to date, with $483,000 in cash on hand.

The Kansas Farm Bureau and a handful of other agricultural lobbying groups have sided with Marshall, endorsing the first-time congressional candidate over Huelskamp.

“We’re not interested in backing somebody who’s going to throw bombs all the time,” said Aaron Popelka, spokesman for the Kansas Livestock Association, which is backing Marshall. “It’s interesting that Tim runs this anti-establishment campaign when he’s been a 20-year politician, so I would argue, he is the establishment, just a different faction of the establishment.”

It’s unclear whether Ryan endorsing Huelskamp to rejoin the agriculture panel would make a difference. Boehner, after leading the effort to boot Huelskamp, sought to reinstate him the following Congress. But members of the Steering Committee didn’t want him on the committee, saying he was too hard to work with on sensitive legislation like the farm bill.

That means Huelskamp, who has met with Agriculture Committee members on the matter, too, has some work to do with the rest of his colleagues.

“If the speaker pulled out all the stops and begged, bribed and threatened the Steering Committee on Huelskamp’s behalf, then he would still have zero chance of getting back on Ag,” said one Steering Committee member who asked not to be named in order to speak freely. “He’s burned more bridges than J.E.B. Stuart,” referring to the Confederate Army general.

The Steering Committee, which is composed of members of leadership and other top lawmakers, takes a secret vote to pick panel assignments. But the speaker, with four votes, has disproportionate sway.

In 2012, Boehner initiated the Steering Committee’s effort to strip Huelskamp and Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) from their prized committee spots for bucking leadership during tough votes when it needed them most.

It was the first time in nearly a century that Kansas had no representation on the Agriculture Committee.

When Ryan sought to become speaker last fall, meeting with Freedom Caucus members to gauge how to gain their support, the group brought up these specific retaliatory tactics as one thing that needed to change.

“It was explicit when he was running for speaker,” Meadows recalled, with Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), another Freedom Caucus member, seconding his comments during the interview. “We talked about how the fact that Tim, one of the most knowledgeable guys on Ag, should be on the Ag Committee. And him not being on the Ag Committee is politics… He said he’d support him.”

The speaker’s office would not comment on this specific conversation but said Ryan has always felt that members should sit on the panel that best suits their expertise.

Huelskamp first approached Ryan in mid-May to go public with the alleged commitment after his primary opponent started skewering him for being kicked off the panel. The issue heated up when Huelskamp returned to his district to campaign during the July 4 recess. Marshall brought up the matter during back-to-back debates.

“We’ve been without that voice for three years,” Marshall told the packed room. “Tim’s chances of getting back on the Ag Committee is next to none. … I can get on the House Ag Committee. [Huelskamp] says he can, but that’s a gamble that Kansas is not going to take.”

Huelskamp responded that he’d be reappointed. And since Ryan had not granted his request to back him publicly, the lawmaker decided to tell voters himself that Ryan told him he “deserves” to be on Agriculture.

Marshall told POLITICO that Huelskamp has become ineffective in Washington. “My grandma had a saying: Once a man loses his reputation, he never gets it back. The congressman has lost his reputation and he has absolutely no voice in Washington anymore.”

After one local newspaper reached out to the speaker’s office to confirm Huelskamp’s claim and received a noncommittal statement from Ryan, Freedom Caucus members decided to get involved, too. They brought up the matter to Ryan on the House floor and during meetings last week as soon as members returned from recess, according to several sources.

But Huelskamp has a problem beyond Ryan: Members of the Agriculture Committee and national farm groups still see him as a polarizing, unlikable figure after he sided with hard-line conservatives on the farm bill in 2012 and 2013.

“The farm bill was just one of many areas [in which] Huelskamp was not able to represent our interests. And in the ag world, changes to the farm bill can make or break a farming operation,” said Katie Sawyer, a fourth-generation Kansas farmer and consultant at Herd Communications.

Still, Huelskamp, who repeatedly calls himself a “fifth-generation farmer,” is hoping he can keep his seat by claiming to be the “true conservative” in the race.

“I’m the outsider, and Roger Marshall is running as the insider peacemaker, and that’s not playing well at home,” Huelskamp said.

Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Helena Bottemiller Evich contributed to this report.

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