Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a conservative Democrat from Arizona, is slated to hold a fundraiser courting lobbyist groups that are vehemently opposed to the Democrats’ Build Back Better Act, which aims to widen the country’s social safety net and address climate disruption.
The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and its PAC, the National Grocers Association, lobbyists for roofers and electrical contractors, and a conservative-leaning group called S-Corp Political Action Committee used Sinema’s political logo to invite association members to a fundraiser on Tuesday, according to the New York Times. The fundraiser will last 45 minutes, during which group members will write checks for between $1,000 and $5,800 addressed to the senator’s campaign.
Several of the groups are publicly opposed to the reconciliation bill. The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors is part of a coalition of business groups that was formed earlier this year to oppose President Joe Biden’s infrastructure, climate and social safety net proposals. The association recently launched a $1 million ad campaign to block the Build Back Better bill.
Though economists say that the reconciliation bill will help lead the country in the direction of a strong economic recovery from the pandemic, lobbyists from the groups behind the fundraiser claim that it would be harmful to the economy — likely because they are opposed to parts of the bill that would levy taxes on corporations and the wealthy, which could take away from corporate bonuses and help begin to close the widening wealth gap.
“Many American job creators are just beginning to recover from a crippling pandemic and now Democratic leaders in Congress want to impose record tax hikes to pay for trillions of dollars in new wasteful Washington spending,” said National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors CEO Eric Hoplin in a statement on Monday, ignoring the fact that a large aim of the reconciliation bill is to create jobs and that the tax hikes are extremely modest compared to historical rates.
In a blog post earlier this month, S-Corp called a Senate Ways and Means Committee draft of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill “nothing short of a declaration of war.”
The group claims to be concerned about the businesses that will be affected by new taxes, as well as the jobs those businesses create, although the Treasury Department finds that 97 percent of small companies won’t be subject to the tax rate increases. Notably, however, there is no blog post on S-Corp’s website about recent reports on Republican maneuvering to throw the country into a debt default that could cause an economic downturn rivaling that of the Great Recession, potentially costing 6 million jobs.
Meanwhile, Sinema has echoed lobbyist talking points surrounding the reconciliation bill, digging in on her opposition to the $3.5 trillion price tag. She is reportedly telling colleagues that she will not support any sort of tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy, which lobbyists have been railing against. Her fundraiser comes during a critical week for the reconciliation bill in Congress — and for lobbyists who have spent tens of millions to kill parts of the package.
Sinema’s lobbyist ties have also been made evident by her opposition to a major funding plan that would allow the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. Though she campaigned on lowering prescription drug prices in 2018, she has come out against the plan that is estimated to raise between $540 billion and $700 billion over the next decade.
Reporting has found that Sinema has received over half a million dollars from the pharmaceutical industry in her career, including over $120,000 between 2019 and 2020 — even though she’s not up for re-election until 2024.
The Arizona lawmaker, known for her dramatic rightward shift since rising through the political ranks, has demonstrated a pattern of saying things on the campaign trail that aren’t necessarily sincere. According to The Intercept, referring to her stories about growing up with financial hardships, Sinema told colleagues at the time: “Yeah, voters love that stupid shit. They eat it up.”
Reporting reveals that Sinema’s particular fervor for fundraising distinguishes her from other Democrats. In campaign fundraising, “few outmatch Sinema’s zeal for fundraisers and phone banking,” wrote The Intercept’s Daniel Boguslaw. “According to multiple Democrats who served with Sinema in the House, she was the only member who seemed to actively love being in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee call center, claiming a couch for her sole personal use and complaining to other members when they had to leave to vote.”