An interesting trend is emerging in American politics whereby Democrats are emerging as the party of financial corruption as Republicans find fundraising success sans corporate dollars. The tectonic political shift could prove significant in the long-run leading into the 2022 congressional midterm elections, and beyond.
Several frontline House Democrats find themselves embroiled in financial corruption scandals, with at least five—Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)—facing questions and criticisms over their personal finances and portfolios, which may cause them political blowback in the upcoming elections.
Gonzalez’s account with the Bank of China, now closed after it was reported first by Breitbart News, has hurt him politically in Texas. Local news outlets followed up on the original Breitbart News investigation that uncovered an account with the Chinese Communist Party-controlled bank the congressman revealed on personal financial disclosure forms for the calendar years 2017, 2018, and 2019. The account, valued at between $100,001 and $250,000, pulled in annually in interest between $2,501 and $5,000—a particularly lucrative arrangement.
While Gonzalez’s office denied any wrongdoing, after the reports his staff announced he closed the account. The fiasco has been the subject of vicious attack ads against Gonzalez in his district, a South Texas border district that in its more-than-a-century in existence has never gone Republican. In the last election, in 2020, GOP candidate Monica de la Cruz Hernandez nearly defeated Gonzalez, holding him to just 50.05 percent of the vote. She got just over 47 percent of the vote. Her surprisingly strong performance has Republicans excited about her decision to run again in 2022, hoping she can replicate that energy and perhaps defeat Gonzalez, flipping the 15th district in Texas for the first time ever—more than a century—into GOP hands. In a recent radio appearance on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, De la Cruz Hernandez hammered Gonzalez for the Bank of China account—and lit him up over President Joe Biden’s malfeasance with immigration policy. Biden’s immigration policy—a complete reversal from former President Donald Trump’s remain-in-Mexico plan and a return to the failures of catch-and-release—has slammed the 15th district in Texas where the now-famous Donna facility that is housing thousands more unaccompanied minor children (UACs) than it was built for.
But the broader theme of Gonzalez getting rich off a foreign bank account with an institution that has no branch in his district and aligns itself with the core mission of the chief adversary of the United States while he fails to address major problems with American immigration failures under Biden is a potent recipe for potential political disaster for him. In other words, Gonzalez is rolling in the dough while his constituents do not have someone addressing their very basic concerns such as the mass influx of migrants at the border. Gonzalez is seeking to remedy that toxic image this week by hosting a bipartisan group of lawmakers for a border trip in his district as part of the House Problem Solvers caucus, but it may already be too late for him on this front.
Gonzalez is hardly the only Democrat in a tough reelection battle who has real financial problems though. Phillips, a wealthy Democrat from Minnesota, represents the battleground third congressional district there. His latest financial disclosure forms indicate he has holdings in the Cayman Islands worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The questionable investment could prove politically damaging for him, as the Cayman Islands is “the world’s most notorious offshore tax haven,” as National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesman Mike Berg said. Should Phillips vote for the forthcoming so-called “infrastructure” plan from Biden, which is not really an infrastructure bill but is more so an environmentalist restructuring of the country using tax hikes to do so, he will inevitably face harsh criticism for why he has assets sheltered offshore in the Cayman Islands while he votes to raise taxes on everyone else to pay for an aggressive leftist agenda.
Murphy, meanwhile, faces renewed questions over patents she holds for softball apparel her husband’s company manufactures in China. Murphy first faced questions over the arrangement back in 2017, but never answered any of them herself. The arrangement continues to this day, as she continues to hold the patents and her husband’s company keeps making the softball pants in China rather than in America. In a district as close as Florida’s 7th congressional district—Cook Political Report rates it as even between GOP and Democrat voter registration—shipping jobs that could be in America instead to China is potentially politically fatal. Murphy’s office previously dismissed reports about this, but the congresswoman herself has never answered questions about her involvement with products made in China instead of in the United States.
Malinowski, another frontline Democrat whose New Jersey district has a three-point voter registration advantage for Republicans according to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index, was caught earlier this year making stock trades last year that he failed to report as required of members of Congress by federal law. The at least 24 transactions in the spring of 2020 that Malinowski did not report made him between $671,000 and $2.76 million according to ethics complaints filed against him.
Maloney, the chairman of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), also failed to disclose thousands of dollars worth of trades as revealed earlier on Monday. Those stock trades that Maloney failed to report as required by law may result in a fine, which his office said he intends to cooperate with and pay assuming such a penalty is levied against him.
Democrats facing these financial issues come as the party has embraced a new rising woke leftism inside American corporations, politicization of companies that has driven Republicans away from corporations. Major companies have cut ties with Republicans in many ways, stopping political donations and shifting their support to the Democrats. Companies have framed their new woke leftist shift as a moral stand for voting rights in the wake of former President Trump’s failed challenges of the 2020 election results which culminated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. After that, Republicans in state legislatures around the country—from Georgia to Arizona to Texas and elsewhere—have led a fresh push for strengthened election security measures that Democrats have falsely claimed make it more difficult to vote. The measures, particularly Georgia’s new law, actually expand voting hours in the lead-up to elections pairing the voting expansion with anti-fraud measures like requiring voter ID even for absentee ballots and banning third-party funding of state and local election offices.
As states pass these laws, many mega corporations ranging from airline carriers to Major League Baseball, have split with Republicans on the measures. But even with the freeze many companies implemented on political donations to Republicans, the GOP has never fared better in a first quarter of fundraising—with American grassroots donors stepping up to more than fill the void left behind by woke leftist corporate donors—in a midterm election cycle’s off-year. In fact, everyone from the NRCC to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to House GOP whip Steve Scalise pulled in record fundraising hauls sans corporations.
Perhaps no better indicator about the success of the new worker-focused anti-corporate Republican Party is the fundraising prowess of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)—who does not even face reelection until 2024 but pulled in an astonishing $3 million in the first quarter of 2021. Hawley, who was the first senator to push for a challenge to electoral college certification back in the lead-up to Jan. 6, was the target of ire of the left’s new corporate-helmed alliance of Democrats and corporate executives. Their push to cut off his fundraising flow seems to not only have failed but backfired as a populist surge rushed to Hawley’s rescue and flushed his campaign coffers with more money than many of his colleagues who are up for reelection this cycle.
An unsigned memo last month from CGCN, a group of GOP insiders and political consultants who have worked for any number of Republicans across the gamut of the party ranging from former staffers to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and former Speaker John Boehner to former Trump aides, warned companies this may happen. The memo forecast that there could come a time when Republicans, who were traditionally defenders of corporate interests in policy negotiations in Washington, ditch the companies leaving them voiceless—or at least with Democrats as their only option—in tax and other policy matters. That populist shift, a surge for anti-corporate Republicans in grassroots donations that blow away anything companies could do for people like Hawley, seems to be accelerating now.
What’s particularly interesting about this latest development, too, is that Democrats in Washington—from Biden on down through both chambers of Congress—are now openly championing hiking the corporate tax rate to pay for their restructuring of the country they call “infrastructure.” While Republicans are not gunning for tax hikes by any stretch—they are basically lining up against Biden’s push for the multi-trillion dollar plan—they are also not as interested in fighting on behalf of these corporations who have shifted their allegiance to Democrats. If anything, Republicans are piling on these corporate special interests with vicious criticisms. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), for instance, has led a messaging push from the Senate GOP conference ripping companies for their woke new leftism, and Republicans across the party seem to be joining his cause rather than rushing to defend companies’ leftward shift.
This raises interesting questions about whether this realignment will leave the Democrats holding the bag of all the negative connotations and consequences of taking special interests’ campaign cash and doing the bidding of corporations, without the benefits of support from the voters, and whether Republicans will see a boon as the populist shift inside the GOP cements itself more and more in the post-Trump era.
For Republicans to retake the House majority next year, they only need to flip a net five seats—or more. With five frontline Democrats already facing serious financial issues, that prospect seems easier and easier—and if the GOP gets there, back into the majority, without corporate donor help because the companies and their executives decided to go all woke leftist on America then the Republicans will not owe them anything when they get there. Democrats, on the other hand, could be saddled with the perception of financial malfeasance and corruption that had plagued Republicans for years before—an interesting twist of fate. Perhaps the only things that stand in the way of this political resurgence of right wing populism are the Republicans themselves, and whether they are sharp enough to understand the opportunity that exists before their eyes or if they will listen to corporations while getting nothing from them. A recent spat between Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson demonstrated that reality of the political stupidity of some Republicans when he denied Walmart, Tyson’s, or other corporate interests influenced his decision to veto a bill that banned transgender hormone treatments for minors in his state. Viewers of Carlson’s program found out only the very next day after the interview that such corporate interests did in fact influence Hutchison’s decision.
Now that some Republicans are showing the party the way forward—they can raise lots of money for their campaigns without doing the bidding of the corporations, so let the Democrats have the obsolete corporate special interests and all their baggage while Republicans can shed the influence operations and run effective populist campaigns—this tectonic political shift seems to have accelerated. Even stupidity might not be able to stop it at this stage, as evidenced by the Arkansas example, as the state legislature overrode Hutchinson’s veto hours after he signed it—thereby making the transgender hormone treatment for minors ban the law the of land anyway overriding the wishes of corporate special interests.