We just learned over the weekend that the President is finally going to sit down for a meeting this week with Speaker Paul Ryan, three months after he took up the gavel. But what’s been going on with the guy who handed it over? After a seemingly life changing meeting with the Pope, John Boehner announced a fairly abrupt exit, leaving the battlefield for others slug it out through the 2016 elections. Or did he?
I don’t recall seeing him on television since before Christmas, but as Politico reports this week, Boehner has actually been keeping busy working on behalf of GOP congressional candidates.
John Boehner has faded behind the scenes since he resigned. Splitting his time between Ohio, D.C. and Florida, the former speaker has avoided television, been spotted periodically around Capitol Hill and downtown Washington and given private speeches to make money.
But Boehner is quietly beginning to rev up his post-speakership political operation, dishing money from his campaign coffers to the party and planning a swing of fundraisers this year to bolster the House GOP.
In December, two months after leaving the speakership, Boehner transferred $1.2 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee; that brought the total amount he funneled to the campaign arm in 2015 to a whopping $8 million.
Seeing Boehner transfer a cool million to the NRCC is no surprise at all. He’s out of office and presumably not planning on running for anything else, so the money has to go somewhere. He was always a prodigious fundraiser, not only for his own House campaigns, but for other candidates and the party in general. (Reports indicate that “Friends of John Boehner” still has more than one and a half million on hand.) But emptying the cupboards isn’t all that he’s up to. Rather than simply going home to Ohio and spending time with his family, the former Speaker is still out on the road. He recently did fundraisers for Elise Stefanik in New York and Carlos Curbelo in Florida. Other fundraisers are in the works moving forward.
It’s not just raising campaign donations for other Republicans taking up his time, though. Boehner has joined the paid speaking tour circuit, already lining up one lucrative gig in Las Vegas for a business convention. They aren’t listing his speaking fees yet, but while they might not be as much as Hillary Clinton pulled in, I expect that he won’t come cheap either. And why not? The guy is a private citizen now, and just as I’ve said about both Republicans and Democrats in the past, if people are willing to pay you to show up and deliver a lecture, get yours while the getting is good. (Of course, if you decide to come back into the game later, like Hillary Clinton has, be prepared to have those fees examined.)
After all the time that John Boehner spent on the political battlefield I’m not surprised if this is just too deeply embedded in his blood to completely walk away cold turkey. There’s a big election coming up and he never struck me as the type to stay on the sidelines. The guy can still generate a lot of money for a campaign and it keeps his hand in the game so I’m not going to begrudge him the chance to play.