Throughout the years, Attorney General William Barr has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican party. From 1993 to 2019, his donations were unquestionably sporadic. Before his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general, though, he began donating much more consistently according to Quartz.
In the months before the hearings, from October 2018 to February 2019, Barr donated $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The NRSC raises money with the aim of getting Republicans nominated to the Senate.
Before October 2018, Barr gave money once in 2009, once in 2011, two times in 2014, once in 2015 and once in 2016. When Jeff Sessions’ position as attorney general became looking increasingly unstable, Barr started regular donations. Once a month he gave $10,000 to the NRSC. The donations came on schedule, on the third of the month, until his confirmation on February 14.
The three prior attorney generals, Jeff Sessions, Loretta Lynch, and Eric Holder, made no payments to party committees or senators prior to their confirmation hearings. Two years before his confirmation, Holder have $250 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He also contributed to Barbara Boxer, then a California senator, in 2008. Although Lynch donated $13,800 to Obama’s election campaign in 2008, she was not nominated for the position of attorney general until 2014.
Adav Noti is a senior director at nonprofit and nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog. He says that the donations, while legal, should “raise eyebrows.
“The fact that any one person can give such large amounts to a political party creates a perception problem,” he said. “Someone giving such large amounts to a senatorial committee before their confirmation certainly raises appearance questions.”
Noti said that the fact that these large and targeted donations are allowed is “a flaw in the system.”
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