Less than two weeks after the hearing, on March 25, FEC records show, Danielle Coffey—the general counsel for the News Media Alliance—gave an additional $1,000 to Buck.
A day after Chavern’s donation, Susan Hirschmann—the CEO of Washington, DC, lobbying firm Williams and Jensen—gave $1,500 to Buck on March 19, FEC filings show. The Center for Responsive Politics lists Hirschmann and several of her other colleagues at the Williams and Jensen lobbying firm as registered lobbyists for the News Media Alliance. The amount she made from this, according to the filings published by the Center for Responsive Politics, was $240,000 in the calendar year 2020.
Her fellow Williams and Jensen lobbyist, Matthew Hoekstra—who is also listed by the Center for Responsive Politics as a registered lobbyist for the News Media Alliance, also making $240,000 in calendar year 2020—gave $2,000 to Buck on March 30 of this year, per FEC filings.
Williams and Jensen attorney Christopher Hatcher, according to the Center for Responsive Politics a registered lobbyist for the News Media Alliance, gave Buck $500 on March 30.
Williams and Jensen’s Political Action Committee (PAC) gave Buck another $1,000, the FEC filings show, on March 26.
Several other PACs from big establishment media organizations also flushed Buck’s campaign coffers with sizable donations. Fox Corporation’s PAC, which represents Fox News and other Fox properties, gave Buck $3,500 on March 31.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) PAC gave Buck $5,000 on March 26, per FEC Filings. The NAB is a special interest group that backs the JCPA as well, and it counts among its current board members NBCUniversal executives, Walt Disney Corporation executives, CBS executives, and many more on its who’s who board member list.
News Corporation’s PAC, which represents the broader company’s interests in addition to Fox News, also gave Buck a separate $2,500 political donation on March 15.
Buck’s congressional office chief of staff, Garrett Ventry, originally told Breitbart News the congressman would cooperate with this investigation, including commenting on the specifics of it and answering detailed questions about the congressman’s actions. Ventry had also indicated that the congressman would cooperate by providing any and all written or other communications between the congressman and either his official office or campaign staff and these various individuals and entities who donated to him, including but not limited to anything about the legislation Buck is promoting that these special interests are lobbying for.
But then, hours after that initial indication that the congressman would cooperate, Ventry later changed his mind. “No comment over here at this point,” Buck’s chief of staff told Breitbart News.
The ultimate irony here is that Buck, the man who literally wrote the book titled
Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse than You Think, is in reality taking thousands upon thousands in campaign donations from lobbyists backing legislation he is pushing.
On the front flap of the 2017 book, Buck’s publisher writes, as part of the effort to sell the book, derisively of official Washington, DC: “Lavish parties. Committee chairmanships for sale. Pay-to-play corruption, Backroom arm-twisting. Votes on major legislation going to the highest bidder.” Breitbart News, in 2017, published a broader excerpt of the congressman’s anti-corruption book.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, and Buck is the top Republican on a key subcommittee and pushing controversial legislation that has key special interests backing it—all while he’s taking thousands upon thousands of dollars in political donations from those very same special interests.
As the broad and serious flaws have emerged in the legislation—a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing on the bill exposed many of them—GOP opposition to the legislation has intensified. McCarthy, the House GOP leader, came out against the bill in a Breitbart News exclusive last month, and Jordan–the House Judiciary Committee ranking member–has been similarly stridently opposed to the bill. Even cosponsor Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), during the early March hearing on the proposal, expressed concerns with the bill and said he would consider withdrawing his support for it.
Before Gaetz could pull his cosponsorship of the bill, he was hit with allegations of sexual impropriety that have dominated headlines around him for weeks since that hearing. But Gaetz, sources close to him contend, may still withdraw cosponsorship of the bill. Per other House GOP aides, other GOP cosponsors of the legislation, including Reps. Burgess Owens (R-UT) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN), have privately signaled they may withdraw support as well, raising concerns about the bill and how it was presented to them to win their support in the first place.
Buck has been aggressive in pushing his legislation, even in the face of unified Republican opposition to the bill from McCarthy and Jordan. To pass such a bill out of this divided Congress—where Democrats have slim majorities in the House and Senate—the Democrats would need to win over at least 10 Senate Republicans (if the bill ever got that far) to get around the filibuster in that chamber. The Senate version of the bill has as original cosponsors Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA)—but most other Republicans have not weighed in yet. That is why building Republican opposition to the legislation has irked the bill’s supporters, as they fear the bill would need significant GOP support in the House to clear the hurdles needed to get it through the filibuster in the Senate.
McCarthy’s move to announce opposition to the bill—a huge move for any party leader in either the minority or majority to weigh in against specific legislation—brought to a screeching halt any more momentum behind the bill. But Buck went to work quietly—along with a group of the bill’s most cash-flush special interests—over the past several weeks since McCarthy’s announced opposition, to build what he claims is broad conservative media support for the bill. Buck produced the fruits of that organizing work late Sunday night when he rolled out a letter signed by executives from a number of nominally rightwing media organizations expressing support for the bill.