For all of their ubiquitous presence in the media, the right-wing extremist legislators Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) seem to have little besides notoriety to show for their 2021 barnstorming fundraising tour of the United States.
According to a report in The Daily Beast, Put America First — the joint PAC operated by the two Trump-supporting lawmakers — “all but officially gone bust.”
In addition, Rep. Gaetz’s campaign committee, Friends of Matt Gaetz, ended 2021 $94,838.65 in the hole, with donations likely a victim of the sex trafficking investigation currently being conducted with the Florida representative in its crosshairs.
According to The Daily Beast:
“All told, the Gaetz campaign hemorrhaged well over a million dollars in costs last year that appear associated with the investigation and related fallout—more than one out of every five dollars raised in the same period. And even though the Gaetz campaign ended the year with a bit over $1.5 million in the bank, it’s highly unusual for a congressman to spend more money in a non-election year than the campaign takes in.”
Gaetz responded to the reports — based on his recent Federal Election Commission filings — by claiming that his deficit is related to his refusal to take money from lobbyists or political action committees.
“I’m the only Republican in Congress who doesn’t take lobbyist or PAC money. I rely exclusively on donations that average around $38,” the hard-partying legislator said.
With much of Gaetz’s campaign funds going to pay for public relations costs and his legal representation as the sex trafficking investigation looms over his future, incoming donations have slowed considerably.
After spending more money than they took in during their joint summer tour, Gaetz and Greene’s joint fundraising committee received only a single donation in the last quarter — a transfer of $18,922 from Gaetz’s own campaign fund to cover the Put America First PAC’s bills.
Whether the reason for the fundraising shortfall lies with Gaetz’s potential legal issues or stems from the fundamental offensiveness of the radical right-wing policies that Gaetz and Greene spend each day promoting remains to be seen.
Either way, the financial failures of their fundraising efforts provide their political opponents with a wonderful opportunity to engage in some righteous schadenfreude.
Original reporting by Roger Sollenberger at The Daily Beast.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.