Today (Tuesday, Feb. 7) Betsy DeVos was confirmed (51-50) as President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education without a single vote from Senate Democrats, and despite two crossover votes from Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
In the lead-up to the vote, and now in the aftermath, much was made about the amount of money DeVos’ family has contributed to senators voting on her confirmation (specifically) and to Republican Super PACs (more broadly). Per HuffPost, and others, DeVos’ family gave $8.3 million to Republican Super PACs in the past two election cycles while DeVos herself doled out some $115,000 to sitting Republican senators.
Based on numbers from the Federal Election Commission, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has benefitted the most from the DeVos family’s generous giving by receiving $98,300, and the next highest are Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) with $70,200 in greenbacks each. Even Sen. Murkowski, who opposed DeVos’ confirmation, has benefitted from DeVos donations to the tune of $43,200.
When DeVos was asked about the political contributions by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in January, she said it was “possible” that her family has given more than $200 million in donations over the years. That particularly demurring answer stands in stark contrast to a 1997 op-ed DeVos penned for Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call about criticism of her family’s political contributions:
[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party … I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections.
Below you’ll find a list of senators who received money from the DeVos family and voted on her confirmation for Secretary of Education.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – $98,300
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) – $70,200
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) – $70,200
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) -$60,050
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) – $51,000
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) – $50,600
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) – $49,800
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) – $49,200
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) – $48,600
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) – $48,600
Sen. Steven Daines (R-Mont.) – $46,800
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) – $46,800
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) – $43,200
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) – $43,200
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) – $36,400
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) – $33,100
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) – $23,400
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) – $23,400
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) – $21,600
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) – $17,500
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) – $2,600
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – $2,000
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) – $1,000