After the controversy of their first fundraiser in northwest Arkansas, House Republicans have regrouped with an apparently stronger effort in central Arkansas.
The House Leadership PAC – the GOP House political action committee – is hosting a function on Tuesday, August 23 with "honorary guests" Rep. Tim Griffin (R) and Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R).
Last month, the group’s fundraiser in northwest Arkansas resulted in self-reporting to the FEC by Rep. Steve Womack (R) over language on the invitations that listed him as a "host" of the event. That language was a violation of federal election law.
Rep. David Sanders (R-Little Rock), finance chair for the GOP caucus, tells Talk Business & Politics that all of the money in question has been returned from that event, and in fact, some of the money was never received. Sanders said that several entities that committed to contributions at the northwest Arkansas event never cut checks and have partnered on the central Arkansas event.
"People are investing in the first Republican majority in Arkansas," Sanders said, in reference to GOP hopes for control of the state legislature.
Currently, Democrats hold a 54-46 advantage over Republicans in the House and a 20-15 advantage in the Senate. Last week, Rep. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) switched her party affiliation from the Democratic Party.
The latest fundraising invitation doesn’t list her as a member of the Republican caucus because of printing deadlines, but the sponsorship list is an impressive collection of businesses, lobbying groups, and individual party activists.
Corporate titans such as Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt and four other individuals or companies have committed to the maximum contribution request of $5,000. Other companies ranging from utilities to medical groups to tobacco companies are ponying up anywhere from $500 to $3,000.
Nearly $60,000 are listed in commitments by sponsors of the event.
To further protect the event from the controversy of last month, the invitation states:
"U.S. Congressman Tim Griffin is an honorary guest, but he is not requesting contributions in connection with this event."