Pat Roberts surprised a lot of pollsters and other political observers by running up a 10 point margin of victory this November, but clearly it wasn’t due to a lack of resources among the forces backing his opponent. Greg Giroux at Bloomberg has been pouring through some of the campaign donor numbers from the end of the 2014 election cycle and has dug up some interesting nuggets coming out of Kansas for both Roberts and Greg Orman. The key date to keep in mind here is actually October 16th. Any contributions made before that date were reported before the election, but money coming in after the 16th missed that reporting period and is only showing up now. Keep that in mind when you read the following.
Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super-PAC run by former political advisers to Majority Leader Harry Reid, sent about $1.5 million to two super-PACs that promoted businessman Greg Orman, who was running as an independent and refused to identify with which party he would caucus. Orman was ultimately unsuccessful in his campaign to unseat Republican incumbent Pat Roberts.
Senate Majority PAC sent $1.31 million to Committee to Elect an Independent Senate in five installments beginning on (you guessed it) Oct. 16, the start of the veiled disclosure period. The Reid-aligned PAC also sent $151,000 on Nov. 3-4 to Kansans Support Problem Solvers, which also backed Orman…
Committee to Elect an Independent Senate also received $1 million from Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg Politics parent company Bloomberg LP.
Of course that wasn’t the only money moving around. The article notes that Charles Koch sent $3 million to Freedom Partners Action Fund during that period, spent on GOP candidates in a dozen races. (You may now faint from shock at the idea that Charles Koch gave money to Republicans.)
But the big story here is that Harry Reid was dumping some mad cash into a push to elect Orman, who is not even a member of his party. I can already hear some of you saying, hold on… he can’t do that! But actually he can. And he did. That’s a rather dangerous game to be playing, though. When people were donating to Senate Majority PAC, was it with the understanding that their donations would be going to someone who flatly admitted that he might caucus with the Republicans if they took control of the Senate? Or were they intending to have their money spent on Democrats?
A full accounting of all these contributions will be forthcoming. Harry Reid may have a bit of explaining to do to both his big dollar donors and his base at large. Not only did he manage to lose nine seats in the upper chamber, but he flushed away a lot of their money in rather dubious endeavors in the process.