Claim: House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) "single-handedly" outraised House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) in April, May, and June, raking in $29 million to McCarthy's $22 million.
Who said it: Jeffries press adviser Justin Chermol in a Monday tweet.
Why it matters: McCarthy and Jeffries are in the early stages of a fight for control of the House in 2024, and winning the fundraising battle is a crucial part of that fight.
Context: Jeffries used his purported second-quarter fundraising lead on McCarthy to argue that he will have "the resources necessary to retake the majority next year," rhetoric that media outlets such as CNN echoed. Jeffries’s ability to outraise McCarthy, CNN wrote in a Wednesday piece, is "impressive … given it’s his first year serving as Democratic leader."
Federal fundraising disclosures, however, suggest Jeffries raised far less than the $29 million figure his team touted. Campaign committees associated with Jeffries reported raising slightly more than $6 million in the second quarter, compared with the roughly $22 million McCarthy and his campaign committees reported raising.
Analysis: The discrepancy between Jeffries's publicly disclosed fundraising haul and his team's inflated figure stems from fundraising events Jeffries held with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Chermol told the Washington Free Beacon. While money raised at those events is not attributed to Jeffries in public disclosures, his team includes the money in its internal calculation of Jeffries’s total fundraising haul. More than $20 million of the $29 million Jeffries says he raised in the second quarter comes from committee events he attended, according to Chermol.
For McCarthy’s team, Jeffries’s decision to include internal and publicly unverifiable figures in his fundraising haul is questionable. If McCarthy was to adopt Jeffries’s definition, his team told the Free Beacon, his total haul would include an additional $14.7 million he raised for his House colleagues through National Republican Congressional Committee events and other external fundraising efforts he spearheaded. That number would bring McCarthy’s total fundraising haul to roughly $36 million—$7 million more than what Jeffries says he raised. As a result, McCarthy spokesman Michael Abboud accused Jeffries of "artificially inflating resources to create good headlines."
"Team Jeffries’s fundraising claims can only be described as desperate," Abboud said. "Simply put, their math doesn’t add up."
Chermol confirmed to the Free Beacon that the vast majority of Jeffries’s reported fundraising haul is "counted internally." Committee spokesman Viet Shelton nonetheless said McCarthy is "more concerned with getting credit" than helping his colleagues.
"House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries is focused on protecting our battle-tested frontline members, recruiting top-tier candidates, and holding extreme MAGA Republicans accountable for their inaction," Shelton told the Free Beacon.
Partisan mudslinging aside, federal disclosures show campaign committees associated with McCarthy raised more in the second quarter than those associated with Jeffries. While internal calculations that attribute additional funds to Jeffries and McCarthy cannot be verified through public disclosures, applying those calculations equally suggests McCarthy raised more money for Republicans than Jeffries did for Democrats.