Major Republican donors — some of whom who saw their chosen presidential candidates crash and burn in the last six months — dropped serious money into House Speaker Paul D. Ryan‘s joint fundraising committee (JFC) in November and December, campaign finance records show. Marquee 2016 donors like Diane Hendricks and Marlene Ricketts, who both gave millions to the super PAC backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker before his campaign sputtered and died last fall, and 2014 megadonor Cliff Asness each gave $244,200 to Ryan’s JFC, Team Ryan. Twenty donors gave the committee more than $100,000 apiece, for a sum of about $2.9 million. The JFC received about $2.7 million more from other large donors and corporate political action committees. Team Ryan split the funds between its three partners. Records show $2.9 million went to the National Republican Congressional Committee, $830,372 was transferred to Ryan for Congress and $508,048 made its way to Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity Action That’s how a JFC works since the Supreme Court removed certain contribution limits in 2014: Major donors use them as a simple way to cut a check to multiple lawmakers or political committees at once. Ricketts, Hendricks and Asness — a wife and a widow of successful businessmen and a hedge fund manager, respectively — each gave $244,200 to Team Ryan. Had they instead sent the funds directly to candidates, they would have written a lot of checks: Each could have maxed out to 24 Republican lawmakers in both their primaries and their general election contests in 2016. (Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, that would have been impermissible.) As speaker, Ryan is expected to be a fundraising leader for the party, and that means offering this kind of dough to members of his conference who need it, which he can do by directing money through the NRCC. In the end, he also gets to do whatever he chooses with the cash balance in his leadership PAC which, thanks in large part to the transfer from his JFC, went from having $193,145 on hand as of June 30, 2015 to having $590,030 at the beginning of this year. Several of the JFC’s donors are already in the business of influencing the 2016 elections, especially the Republican presidential race. Eight donors who gave more than $100,000 to Team Ryan had already made the list of 2016 megadonors by last July. Together, those eight contributed $16.6 million, mostly to the super PACs supporting the presidential bids of Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. It may be that Ryan, still in his honeymoon period as the somewhat unexpected new speaker of the House and a former vice presidential candidate, offers a release valve for the frustrations of Republican donors who favored more conventional Republicans early in a campaign full of unconventional politicians. Ricketts and Hendricks, for example, were the seventh- and eighth-largest political donors early this cycle — together, they gave more than $10 million to Unintimidated PAC, which planned to spend that money supporting Walker. It’s unclear (until next week, anyway) whether their money was refunded or directed elsewhere after Walker’s candidacy took an early trip south. Most of the other top donors to Ryan’s JFC threw their money into Jeb Bush’s cash-vacuuming super PAC; that was before it was clear that generating excitement among the Republican primary electorate would prove to be so difficult for the former Florida governor. Goldman Sachs executive Muneer Satter, for one, gave $550,000 to the super PAC, Right to Rise USA, before last July. He dropped $100,000 into Ryan’s JFC; so did his fellow Right to Rise donors Craig Duchossois, Hushang Ansary, Thomas McInerney and Trevor Rees-Jones. Source: OPEN SECRETS]]>