Several Republican lawmakers received significant financial help from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his allies before turning against the Californian’s bid to become House speaker.
GOP Reps. Bob Good, Andy Biggs, Matt Rosendale, and Ralph Norman have emerged as some of McCarthy’s biggest detractors since Republicans won a narrow majority in the November midterms. The four lawmakers have pledged to oppose McCarthy’s ascension to House speaker largely on ideological grounds and demands to disempower the House speaker’s office.
‘I’ve seen nothing from Kevin McCarthy in my first few years in Congress that would give me any sense of confidence that he’s the right person to lead us in the fight that we must wage to save the country,’ said Good, a Virginia Republican.
Rosendale echoed the sentiment when saying he could only back McCarthy under ‘extreme circumstances,’ including major concessions on how the House operates.
‘Kevin McCarthy isn’t willing to make those changes,’ said Rosendale, a Montana Republican who was first elected in 2020. ‘He wants to maintain the status quo, which consolidates power into his hands and a small group of individuals he personally selects.’
Despite the strong stance, McCarthy’s detractors have shown no issue in accepting financial help from the would-be speaker and his allies in recent years. Good, Rosendale, Biggs, and Norman have each accepted campaign donations directly from McCarthy’s political action committee, Majority Committee PAC.
The group contributed $10,000 each to Good, Rosendale, and Norman in 2022 when the lawmakers were up for re-election. Majority Committee PAC similarly gave $10,000 to Rosendale, Norman, and Biggs during the 2020 election cycle.
Overall, Good has taken $10,000 from the PAC, while Biggs and Rosendale have each taken $20,000 over the span of their congressional careers. Norman, meanwhile, has taken $25,000 since first being elected to Congress in 2017.
Biggs has no qualms about taking McCarthy’s money.
‘If you can’t take someone’s money and still tell them no, then you shouldn’t be in politics,’ he told Fox News.
It is unclear if the other lawmakers will opt to return the contributions now that they oppose McCarthy’s bid for speaker. Requests for comment were not returned by Good or Rosendale. Norman’s office said the congressman was not able to provide comment before press time.
Apart from direct contributions, Rosendale and Good also pulled in roughly $150,000 each this cycle from a joint fundraising effort with McCarthy’s Take Back the House 2022 PAC.
Good and Rosendale have also received extensive financial help from the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a Super PAC aligned with McCarthy.
In 2020, when Good was struggling to win the general election after ousting an incumbent Republican, CLF spent more than $1.8 million on the contest. Good wound up winning the race by nearly five percentage points, despite underperforming former President Donald Trump.
Rosendale, likewise, benefited from CLF’s intervention in his 2020 campaign for Montana’s at-large congressional seat. CLF spent more than $448,000 on the race, despite Montana being seen as largely a safe Republican state.
A former state auditor and Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2018, Rosendale slightly underperformed Trump in a three-way contest.
The lawmakers’ willingness to accept McCarthy’s political cash, but buck his speaker ambitions has drawn calls of hypocrisy from at least one GOP lawmaker.
‘Everyone wants the leader’s help in getting elected, but then when they’re in Congress they act like they did it all on their own,’ said a centrist House Republican. ‘For a bunch of individuals obsessed with remaining principled, they’re not living up to it.’