Politics & Government

Most of Rep. Mike Pompeo’s campaign contributions coming from PACs

Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas
Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas File photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo received nearly 90 percent of his campaign contributions from political action committees during the first six months of the 2016 campaign cycle.

Pompeo has about $1.1 million cash on hand for his re-election effort as of June 30, according to the report he filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.

Some of that is money left over from the Wichita Republican’s successful re-election bid last year, in which he bested his predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, in the GOP primary and cruised to an easy victory against Democrat Perry Schuckman in the general election.

Pompeo has received almost $299,000 in campaign contributions since January and more than $266,000 – or 88.8 percent – came from political action committees rather than individual donors.

By comparison, fellow Republican U.S. Reps. Tim Huelskamp and Kevin Yoder, both up for re-election as well, received the majority of their contributions from individual donors. The state’s other House member, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Topeka Republican, took 54.8 percent of her donations from PACs.

Heather Denker, spokeswoman for campaign, dismissed the early statistics.

“Congressman Pompeo is focused on serving the needs of Kansans, not future elections. In fact, it is so early in the cycle that he has not even filed for re-election,” Denker said in an e-mail.

“In all his previous elections, Pompeo has always enjoyed strong financial support from Kansans – having raised more from individual donors in his short time in Congress than his predecessor did during his entire time in office. We fully expect that trend to continue.”

A significant amount of Pompeo’s money came from the food industry. He has received $5,000 each from PACs associated with fast food giant McDonald’s, cereal manufacturer General Mills and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Denzel McGuire, vice president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, also wrote Pompeo a check for $1,000.

Pompeo has also received money from PACs associated with Land ’O Lakes butter, Campbell’s Soup, Kraft Foods and agricultural giant Monsanto, which is a leading manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds.

A slew of industry groups have also donated to Pompeo, including the Snack Food Association PAC, International Dairy Foods Association, the North American Meat Institute and the more generally named FoodPAC among others.

Pompeo sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which among other duties oversees food and drug safety. Pompeo has also been the lead proponent for a bill that restrict states from requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. It would set up a national system of voluntary labeling.

Denker called Pompeo’s work on the GMO bill “hugely important to Kansas farmers and consumers alike. That continues to be his focus as he looks to get this bill signed into law.”

Other significant donations to Pompeo’s campaign have come from PACs for oil companies Exxon Mobil and Valero, the pharmaceutical giant Express Scripts and defense contractor Raytheon for $5,000 each.

He has also received $5,000 from KochPAC, which is affiliated with Wichita’s Koch Industries. Koch’s employees and political action committees were Pompeo’s biggest donor during both the 2012 and 2014 elections, donating a total of $299,000 to his previous campaigns, according to analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.