Trump AG nominee William Barr is a longtime GOP donor

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Attorney General nominee William Barr (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attorney General nominee William Barr, set to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, has provided consistent financial support to Republican candidates and causes for nearly 25 years and recently contributed to members of the committee tasked with advancing his nomination.

Together, Barr and his wife Christine have given nearly $730,000 to federal Republican candidates and conservative groups since 1994, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The couple gave a total of $4,000 to Democratic candidates since then.

A significant chunk of the Barrs’ political giving came recently. The Barrs gave $87,700 to GOP candidates and groups during the 2018 election cycle, including $40,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $21,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Barr gave to Republican candidates who are now members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Ted Cruz ($3,000), Marsha Blackburn ($2,000) and Josh Hawley ($2,000).

The Barrs were more active than ever in 2016, contributing $155,645 to conservative causes. Barr gave a maximum $2,700 contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign, but it’s clear when looking through the numbers Trump wasn’t his preferred candidate. That honor goes to Jeb Bush, as Barr gave $44,145 to Right to Rise PAC, an outside group supporting Bush’s doomed campaign.

On Tuesday, Barr will tell the committee he plans to let special counsel Robert Mueller finish the job. But he has drawn scrutiny for his criticism of Mueller’s team.

Though he didn’t go as far as Trump to call them “17 Angry Dems,” Barr criticized the team for its number of Clinton donors during a July 2017 interview with the Washington Post, saying he “would have liked to see him have more balance on this group.”

“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party,” Barr said.

The lawyers that now make up Mueller’s team have given a decent chunk of money to Democrats. Prosecutor Jeannie Rhee and her husband Christopher make up the largest chunk of Democratic giving at nearly $30,000. Mueller himself has given to just one federal candidate, contributing a total of $450 to Republican Bill Weld’s unsuccessful 1996 Senate campaign against incumbent Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would be leaving behind large sums of money at his previous jobs. He made nearly $2.5 million over the last year between his counsel position at Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis and director positions at Time Warner, Dominion Energy and Och-Ziff Capital Management. Barr agreed in an ethics waiver to leave those positions should he take over the Justice Department.

Barr would join a cabinet already full of longtime GOP donors. Though Barr has given more to GOP candidates and causes than Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ($474,200), he would be dwarfed by Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon ($15 million), Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ($8.2 million) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ($961,879).


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