A donation to a member of Congress? $1,000. A donation to the future majority whip of the House of Representatives? Priceless.
That appears to be the calculation MasterCard made in June. The credit-card company's political action committee had never given money to Rep. Steve Scalise before this summer. But MasterCard's PAC was one of more than 60 donors that gave thousands of dollars to Scalise's congressional campaign in the days after the Louisiana Republican was elected as the next House majority whip, according to federal campaign finance records.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's surprising primary loss on June 10 opened up a slot in GOP leadership for Scalise, who will take over as majority whip on July 31 when the current whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, replaces Cantor as majority leader. Suddenly and not coincidentally, groups and individual donors are lining up to add themselves to Scalise's supporter rolls.
The nearly $150,000 that Scalise brought in at the very end of June included campaign cash from nearly three dozen new donors, MasterCard's PAC included, that had never appeared on the three-term congressman's campaign finance reports before he ascended to the No. 3 spot among House Republicans. The new donors range from senior executives at Washington lobbying firms to committees representing the defense, financial, and medical industries.