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In polite company, the idea of putting the country through a presidential impeachment is “somber,” “heartbreaking” and, in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a time to be “prayerful.”

But for campaigns across the political spectrum, most especially President Donald Trump’s, impeachment has been a once-in-a-generation money bomb.

As a formal impeachment approaches, members and the White House should suspend campaign fundraising until the process is resolved. Because the same cash fire hose that turns on after an appearance on “Fox & Friends” or “The Rachel Maddow Show” also threatens the integrity of the most important constitutional question the country will ever ask itself — should this president be removed from office?

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

No campaign has focused more intently, nor benefited more financially, from impeachment than the president’s own.

On the day that Pelosi announced that the House would pursue a formal impeachment inquiry into his interactions with the president of Ukraine, an urgent email over Trump’s signature from the joint fundraising committee of the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee told supporters, “Nancy Pelosi just formally called for the first step towards my IMPEACHMENT!”

A second email from the president announced the creation of “the official Impeachment Defense Task Force” for supporters who donated $5 before 3:30 pm. For a few dollars more, you could even get a wallet-size card certifying your membership in the Official Impeachment Defense.

More time brought more impeachment-related calls for cash under subject lines like, “TOTAL SMEAR JOB,” “WITCH HUNT,” and “This is un-American.”

An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity showed that, if nothing else, impeachment has been great for campaign business. On the day before Pelosi’s announcement, the Trump campaign raised $57,000 in donations above $200. On the day Pelosi formalized the inquiry, donations jumped to $355,000. The day after that was the campaign’s best single-day total all year, $405,000.

The president may be the most brazen impeachment fundraiser in Washington, but he certainly hasn’t been the only one. Along with congressional leaders, whose party-building roles have always included raising cash, many of the very top rainmakers in the House in 2019 have also had the highest profiles in the Mueller and impeachment investigations.

Rep. Devin Nunes ranks as the second-highest fundraiser in the entire House, raking in $5.7 million in the first nine months of the year. The California Republican has been both the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee investigating the president, as well as one of Trump’s most aggressive defenders anywhere on Capitol Hill.

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Two slots down from Nunes is Rep. Adam Schiff, the fourth-most successful fundraiser in the House at $4.4 million. The California Democrat is both the chairman of the Intelligence Committee and a Trump antagonist who has been as relentless in pursuing the president’s dealings as Nunes has been in shielding him.

Along with Nunes and Schiff in the top dozen, you’ll also find relatively junior Intelligence Committee members, Democrats Raja Krishnamoorthi (No. 10) and Eric Swalwell (No. 12). It’s a sea change for the panel, which used to be considered a dud for fundraising, since it policed no specific industry and conducted most of its work behind closed doors. But the investigations into the president have changed all of that.

The same holds true for the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican and top Trump attack dog, ranks at No. 16 among House fundraisers this cycle, while two fellow Oversight members, New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Alabama Republican Bradley Byrne, outrank even him at No. 6 and No. 7 respectively.

In September, AOC called out Democratic leaders for not pushing to impeach Trump sooner. “At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior — it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it,” she tweeted.

And it was Byrne last Thursday leading Republicans to storm a closed-door hearing for the impeachment inquiry and telling Fox News the entire Ukraine inquiry was “just a hatchet job against the president.”

The RNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have all joined in, too, flooding potential donors with appeals to help fight against — or for — impeachment.

The Center for Responsive Politics found even swing-district members like freshmen Democrats Max Rose, Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger all reaching out to donors with impeachment messages. “Washington Republicans are attacking Max for taking his oath to defend the Constitution seriously,” the Rose campaign wrote in a Facebook ad. “Make a contribution so we have the resources to respond.”

It has to be said that more and more campaign fundraising is truly organic, thanks to technology that now lets small-dollar donors see or read about a member of Congress they like and simply go online and send a donation.

But even the visibility a member needs to get that donor’s attention incentivizes the loudest voices and worst behaviors.

The money will still be there when the dust settles. The integrity won’t.

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Patricia Murphy covers national politics for The Daily Beast. Previously, she was the Capitol Hill bureau chief for Politics Daily and founder and editor of Citizen Jane Politics.

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(14) comments

Climatehoax

Stop fund raising because Trump is making to much money? Ha, ha, ha, hypocrites, if it were the DemoRats, this column wouldn’t have been written, what a farce!

Jobaba

So two Russians funnel $250k through three or four different corporations into Trump's campaign fund. There is a law against foreign donations. So what? Laws are just suggestions. Russian money was funneled through the NRA. So what? Trump has remade America!

Redwall

Nancy Pelosi "prayerful"? I would like to see what happens if splashed with some holy water...she would probably burst into flames.

martian2

oh gosh that is funny redwall, so funny. back to your high school antics I see.

oldhomey

It is time that Redwall got off these boards until he buys a subscription to this newspaper like all of the rest of us. It is an insult to all paying customers that he is continually on these boards for free while we pay the freight. Come on, Tribune, get him off and keep him off until he pays up.

new2Lax

Looks like CNN is covering part of the impeachment speeches but it is only Democrats speaking that seem to matter. Every time a Republican speaks they go to Wolf Blitzer or some other CNN commentator to explain the Democrats point. This explains why both CNN and MSNBC are where they are in the ratings, it is a one sided affair for sure and both think a Americans do not see this. The whole process will go nowhere, we have heard the phone call and from those that are saying they know what the President was thinking, the words used do not conflate to a quid pro quo, these folks think something else and this should be what Trump should be impeached on, what they think, not what was said. The biggest problem will be convincing the President of Ukraine to recant what he said. He was the recipient of the call, you would think he would have agreed if he was blackmailed or pressured. The fact he is he did not, how do you convince the Senate to put the word of the never Trumper’s , partisan Democrats against the two people on the call who say there was no pressure, not to mention the history of trying to get Trump impeached from day one. Based on this the Democrats want to reverse the will of the American people.without a doubt every American realizes the shock that was dealt to the left by the 2016 loss. Trump was deemed to be impeached on day one by Democrats and they tried everything imaginable to accomplish the task, they all failed, despite the illegal methods and tactics used. The pending investigations will bare this out.

capedcrusader

Your wish list is awful long. We'll see...

oldhomey

Why would you think the president of the Ukraine would recant, new2? He had to kowtow to Trump to get US taxpayer money already ear-marked for his country but held up by Trump as a quid pro quo to get Ukraine to manufacture dirt on American Democrats to benefit Trump's re-election campaign. He won't recant. He knows his bread is being buttered, and he won't risk that. Would one of you right wingers please show us how the Democratic Party was preparing articles of impeachment from his very first day in office? You keep harping on that. You must have some evidence of it.

martian2

evidence, facts, proof are something newt and the rest of the gang have no understanding of. Just fox news talking points, that to them is proof.

oldhomey

new2? Evidence please of the Democrats preparing to impeach Trump from the time he was elected? Please? I am going to follow you on this until you come up with some sort of answer. Many of us (though I CANNOT speak for crank) are sick of you hurling allegations without having anything to back those allegations up. When you were a crack HR man for a Fortune 300 company and an employee made an allegation that he or she had been abused in some fashion by a superior or co-worker, did you simply take them at their word, or did you ask for evidence. Or did you turn the whole mess over to a flunky and walk away from it? Or were you ever actually a crack HR man for a Fortune 300 company?

new2Lax

According to what has been found so far, the FBI leadership, by that I am referring to Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Andrew McCabe we’re texting about the insurance policy they developed in 2015 to have Trump removed from office Should the unbelievable happen, he got elected. This insurance policy was to ensure Trump would be impeached for Russian collusion based on the information in the Steele dossier, The problem was the dossier was found to be f Russian origin and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Then by following the documents obtained by numerous outlets suing for there release, the picture was clear, the DOJ, FBI, CIA leadership wanted to remove the President from office. These are not allegations, people were and are still being disciplined for their illegal bias actions. The administrative investigation is now a criminal investigation and it is for a reason, there is evidence of a coup, misdeeds, bias, abuse of a government agency being weaponized for political purposes.

Depending on the allegation from the employee and the evidence presented and yes most of these allegations were handled by staff. The staff were well qualified and did a fine job, the company had an excellent reputation and had many awards for their efforts. No one ever walks away from an employee’s concern if they are worth their salt, no one.

oldhomey

I see, new2. You handed off employee abuse allegations to staff. Did they come back to you with incredibly solid evidence like the evidence you cite here of the Democratic Party making plans to impeach Trump if elected? Wow! I simply was not aware of this nefarious plan, but there it is, laid out by you. These folks from the Deep State are going to jail, no doubt, with the evidence you have cited. This will go down in history as one of the most serious abuses of Deep State power ever committed in the history of the republic. You got them dead to rights, old man. No arguing there, no siree, Bob. My mind is now at ease that, under you, you made sure the truth was uncovered in any and all complaints of abuse in your Fortune 300 company. I am guessing there were an awful lot of women in that company who made ridiculously false charges of sexual harassment and gender bias. Shocking.

new2Lax

What kind of President do you think he is, some kind of weakling, he got elected because he is trusted to do the right thing. You think he is lying I presume. That’s what you are left with, he said there was no quid pro quo and that’s a real problem because Democrats think they have the power to read minds. They know for a fact the President of Ukraine is lying, they just know it, he said he spoke the truth but they know what he was thinking.

The insurance policy spoke about was declared in 2015 it was to be used to impeach the Trumpster. The word insurance policy is synonymous with Impeachment and was used as early as 2015.

oldhomey

Noted, new2.

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