Joe Manchin Saw Huge Surge in Donations During Debate on For the People Act

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has reported a surge in campaign donations during the second quarter of 2021, amid fierce debate about federal voting reforms.

Manchin's quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for the period from April 1 to June 30 shows that the senator received net contributions of more than $1.4 million—a significant increase on his fundraising in the previous quarter.

That filing period coincides with public debate about the For the People Act, when Manchin, a moderate Democrat, played a major role in the evenly divided Senate.

FEC filings show that Manchin raised $1,475,062 in net contributions between April 1 and June 30. During the previous quarter, he had raised a net $169,359.

Manchin's cash on hand at the end of the first quarter of 2021 was $2,589,480. At the end of the second quarter, the figure stood at $3,950,791.

His fundraising figures also compare favorably to the same period in 2020. FEC filings show that in the second quarter of last year, the senator's net contributions were $28,134 and cash on hand was $2,200,049.

Manchin's donations appear to reflect his reputation as a Democratic senator with moderate to conservative leanings. He received a large number of donations through ActBlue, a fundraising platform used by many Democratic candidates and progressive groups, but also received many contributions through VoteSane, a similar group that leans to the right.

The reporting period coincided with the Democratic Party's attempt to pass sweeping voting reform with the For the People Act. The act, HR1, passed the House of Representatives on March 3.

Manchin was initially opposed to the legislation, but supported it after negotiating changes to the bill. Those changes were designed to win bipartisan approval for the act in the divided Senate.

However, the filibuster remained a stumbling block and Manchin was unequivocal in his opposition to abolishing the parliamentary mechanism that allows a minority in the Senate to block debate on a piece of legislation.

On June 22, Senate Republicans deployed the filibuster to block debate on the For the People Act, in effect killing the bill. Sixty votes are needed to overcome the filibuster and the bill failed to advance after a 50-50 party-line vote.

Manchin's quarterly FEC report also shows that he received contributions from executives at several oil and gas companies, including Talos Energy, ConocoPhillips, Texas-based Tellurian and Nicklos Drilling Company.

The senator has criticized provisions in a Democratic infrastructure bill that are aimed at eliminating the use of fossil fuels. His home state of West Virginia is a major producer of coal and he is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Earlier this month, a lobbyist for oil giant ExxonMobil described Manchin as the Senate's "kingmaker" in secret recordings made by Greenpeace UK's investigative platform Unearthed.

Newsweek has asked Senator Joe Manchin for comment.

Manchin Speaks at a Senate Committee
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks during a Senate energy committee hearing on June 15. Manchin's FEC filings show a significant rise in donations from April to June. Drew Angerer/Getty Images