Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wall Street firm employees, big bank PACs and several prominent Republicans during the first three months of 2023, according to new campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Arizona’s 2024 U.S. Senate race is rated a toss-up by the Cook Political Report, setting the stage for an expensive battle as control of the chamber hangs on a razor-thin balance. Sinema has not yet announced her reelection bid, but she’s reportedly preparing to defend her seat.
Sinema changed her affiliation from Democrat to independent in December, which means a reelection announcement would spark a contentious three-way race between the independent incumbent and Republican and Democratic nominees. Democrats have rallied around Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who announced his Senate bid in January.
Gallego outraised Sinema during the first three months of 2023 $3.7 million to $2.1 million. But Sinema’s campaign reported $10 million on hand as of March 31, several times Gallego’s $2.7 million on hand. Neither candidates’ leadership PAC filed an April quarterly report with the FEC.
The first Republican to jump into the high-profile Senate contest is Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, who built a reputation in Arizona for his defiance of COVID-19 lockdowns, criticism of President Joe Biden’s immigration policy and as an outspoken supporter for former President Donald Trump. Lamb announced his Senate bid last Tuesday, which means his first campaign finance report isn’t due to the FEC until July.
Sinema came under fire last summer for her opposition to a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that would have closed the carried interest tax loophole. The loophole allows private equity executives and some hedge fund managers to claim large portions of their income as investment gains, which are taxed at a significantly lower rate. Biden signed the bill, stripped of the provision, into law on Aug. 16.
The Arizona incumbent raised more than $280,000 from employees of the private equity investment company Blackstone and $196,000 from employees of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, POLITICO reported. The securities and investments industry, which includes private equity firms, contributed more than $3.5 million to Sinema’s campaign and Getting Stuff Done leadership PAC from her election to Congress in the 2018 election cycle through the 2022 midterms, according to OpenSecrets data, making the industry her top contributor.
Commercial banks, another top industry contributor, gave $570,846 to Sinema’s campaign and leadership PAC through the same period. During the first quarter of 2023, her campaign reported receiving $6,000 from Citigroup Inc. PAC, $5,000 from American Express PAC, $3,500 from Capital One Financial PAC, $5,000 from Goldman Sachs PAC, $3,000 from Mastercard Inc. PAC and $2,500 from Visa Inc. PAC during the first 3 months of 2023, according to new federal campaign finance disclosures. Her campaign also reported $2,500 from the American Bankers Association PAC and $1,000 from the Independent Community Bankers of America PAC.
Sinema’s campaign did not respond to OpenSecrets’ request for comment.
Several prominent Republicans also contributed to Sinema’s campaign. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) Denali Leadership PAC gave $10,000 to Sinema’s campaign on March 31. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci donated $6,600, $3,300 each for the primary and general races, the maximum individual contribution for the 2024 election cycle. Although Sinema will not have to run in a party primary, she is still eligible to receive primary election contributions, under current FEC guidelines.
Several Democratic lawmakers contributed to Gallego’s Senate campaign, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Maxwell Frost’s (D-Fla.) A Love Supreme leadership PAC.
The securities and investment industry contributed $111,602 to Gallego’s reelection campaign and leadership PAC during the 2022 election cycle. Gallego called out Sinema’s “Wall Street values” last month for her 2018 vote to weaken banking regulations, AZ Central reported.
“Sinema is in the pocket of Wall Street and her vote put hardworking Arizona, their families, and their small business, at risk of another 2008-like meltdown,” Gallego tweeted.