By Melissa Holzberg, Open Secrets
January 4, 2022
On Jan. 6, 2021, 147 Republican members of Congress voted to object to the Electoral College vote count that certified President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Republican objectors cited baseless claims of fraudulent vote counts, rigged voting machines and former President Donald Trump’s allegations of voter fraud as the reasons they voted to object to Biden’s win. No allegations of fraud have been proven, and Biden won the 2020 election with 306 Electoral College votes.
While Congress was in session on Jan. 6, a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol. The violent protest resulted in the death of five people, and the House later impeached Trump for inciting the violence. In February 2021, the Senate acquitted Trump of the impeachment charge.
Now, a year after the riot, many of the House members who objected to the election results are some of the top fundraisers in the Republican House conference going into the 2022 midterm elections.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) raised nearly $9.1 million in the first nine months of 2021 — he’s the highest fundraiser in the House Republican conference, and third highest fundraiser in the House overall. The House Republican leader voted against certifying Arizona’s Electoral College vote.
Another member of House Republican leadership, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), was the second highest fundraiser of the House electoral objectors heading into 2022. Scalise has raised $7.4 million for his reelection campaign.
Democrats hold a narrow 221-majority in the 435-member House, and some predict House Republicans will retake control there and perhaps in the Senate this year. According to the Cook Political Report, eight Democratic-held seats are now considered toss-ups in the November elections while six Republican-held seats are labeled the same. Additionally, five Democratic-held seats are currently in Cook’s “lean” or “likely” Republican categories, and only one Republican-held seat is in the “lean Democratic” column.
While Republican leadership members like McCarthy, Scalise and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) all objected to the Electoral College count, they’ve been reluctant to defend the actions of rioters on Jan. 6, unlike some of the other top fundraising election objectors in their conference.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a freshman representative, has raised nearly $6.3 million for her 2022 reelection campaign. She’s the fourth highest overall House Republican fundraiser, and the third highest House Republican election objector fundraiser. The Georgia congresswoman has been a lightning rod of controversy over her offensive and controversial remarks since she was elected to Congress. In 2021, she was stripped of her House committee assignments, and on Jan. 2, Twitter permanently suspended Greene’s personal Twitter account for continuously publishing misinformation on COVID-19, and Facebook temporarily suspended her.
Greene, a top Trump ally, has also defended the rioters who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6.
In an October interview with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Greene compared the Capitol rioters to the Declaration of Independence.
“January 6 was just a riot at the Capitol,” Greene said. “If you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.”
Bannon has since been indicted by a federal grand jury of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the House committee investigating Jan. 6. Bannon’s case will go to trial in July.
Other top fundraisers in the House Republican conference who objected to the Electoral College vote include Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). Both Jordan and Gaetz have been intensely critical of the Jan. 6 House committee, and the committee told Jordan in December that they wanted to question him regarding “communication” the congressman had with Trump on Jan. 6.
The Ohio congressman is the fifth highest fundraiser in the House Republican conference with a $5.1 million haul so far in the 2022 election cycle. Gaetz, who held a string of rallies with Greene over the summer, has raised nearly $3.6 million in his reelection campaign so far.
While the majority of House Republicans voted against certifying the Electoral College vote in 2020, a few top Republican fundraisers stood out for voting in favor of the certification.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), is the second highest House Republican fundraiser in the 2022 cycle so far with $7.8 million. In the aftermath of Jan. 6, the Texas representative said that members of his party “lied” to Trump supporters by claiming they could overturn the election results.
“They were led to believe Jan. 6 was anything but a political performance for a few opportunistic politicians to give a five-minute speech. That is all that it ever was. People were lied to,” Crenshaw told Hearst Newspapers on Jan. 7, 2021.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has raised more than $5.1 million in her reelection campaign — the sixth highest fundraiser of House Republicans. Cheney was ousted from House leadership in 2021 for criticizing Trump. She was also one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his actions in the leadup to, and on, Jan. 6. Cheney is now one of two House Republicans who sit on the Jan. 6 committee. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who also sits on the committee, announced in October that he would not run for reelection.
The 139 House Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election results were joined by eight Republican senators. Just one of those senators, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), is up for reelection in November. Kennedy has raised nearly $14.4 million for his 2022 race through Sept. 30.