Manchin Raked in Record Q4 Donations While Killing Build Back Better Act

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) received PAC donations from the fossil fuel, finance, and insurance industries in a record fourth quarter haul while killing the Democrats' signature bill.

Manchin Raked in Record Q4 Donations While Killing Build Back Better Act
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks to reporters before a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, January 18, 2022.

As he worked to kill the Build Back Better Act at the end of last year, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was cheered on with hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from corporate PACs.

Manchin raised over $1.57 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, the highest total he’s ever raised in a year-end report, according to FEC records. The senator is the only Democrat who has said he will not vote for the Build Back Better Act, which contains much of President Biden’s domestic agenda and needs the support of every Senate Democrat to pass. The record Q4 amount raised by Manchin’s committee was first noted by journalist Derek Willis and confirmed by Sludge.

On October 15, the New York Times reported that Manchin told the White House he opposed a major climate program in the Build Back Better Act, a clean energy standard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. Days later, he received donations from several energy industry PACs representing companies that opposed the program. 

The PAC of the Electric Power Supply Association donated $2,500 to Manchin on October 20. The trade association represents companies in the power generation business and oil and gas companies including private equity firm Energy Capital Partners, BP, Shell, and Tenaska. It reported lobbying Congress in the fourth quarter on “development of a Clean Electricity Performance Program.” Also on that day, the senator received $5,000 from the PAC of oil and gas exploration company Devon Energy. On October 24, the American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers’ PAC gave $5,000 to Manchin. That group’s board members include executives of oil majors like ExxonMobil and Chevron, and it retains Manchin’s former senior advisor and communications director Jonathan Kott as a lobbyist to “Provide strategic counsel and general lobbying support on core AFPM issues,” according to Senate filings. 

On December 19, Manchin appeared on Fox News Sunday to announce he would not support the budget reconciliation package, claiming that the spending package of $1.7 trillion over 10 years ​​posed too much risk to the national debt in a time of “geopolitical unrest” and the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are also facing increasing geopolitical uncertainty as tensions rise with both Russia and China,” Manchin said in a statement released on the same date. “Our ability to quickly and effectively respond to these pending threats would be drastically hindered by our rising debt.”

Manchin in the fourth quarter brought in $5,000 maximum contributions from the PACs of corporations including CVS, Intuit, Cigna, Equitrans Midstream, chemistry company Celanese, insurance company Lockton, and several more.

The fourth quarter sum brings the total raised by Manchin’s primary campaign committee to over $4.83 million in 2021, compared with nearly $495,000 in 2020. The 74-year-old Manchin has not announced if he intends to run for re-election in 2024. The committee’s cash on hand is over $6.71 million, according to records maintained by ProPublica. 

Manchin raised nearly $295,000 from corporate PACs, including the PACs of trade associations and law firms, according to Sludge’s review of FEC reports released yesterday. The largest share of corporate PAC donations came from companies and trade associations in the financial, insurance, and real estate sector, followed by donors in the health and energy sectors. 

Real estate industry donors gave nearly $32,000 to Manchin in donations that were earmarked through the Votesane PAC.

Manchin’s leadership PAC, Country Roads, brought in $116,500 in PAC donations in the month of December, according to Sludge’s review. His joint fundraising committee, Manchin Victory Fund, has not yet filed its year-end report. 

The Q4 contributions came as the Biden White House claimed that Manchin was ostensibly negotiating with the president to vote for their budget reconciliation bill, only to drop his willingness late in the year. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a Dec. 19 statement, “If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”

In its expenditures, Manchin’s campaign reported spending over $76,000 on Allied Universal Executive Protection & Intelligence Services, the first time the company has been mentioned in his disclosures. Manchin’s campaign also spent over $14,000 on catering at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. 

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