Energy lobbyist Jeff Miller has raised over $1 million in donations for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, according to the latest records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
This is the first time either the Trump Victory or Trump’s official presidential campaign committee — Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. — has disclosed bundled contributions, groups of contributions to political candidate gathered by supporters from their friends and colleagues, to the FEC.
The Trump Victory fund originally disclosed on July 15 that Miller helped raise just over $111,000. However, the Republican National Committee reached out to ThinkProgress to clarify that an error was made and that an amended FEC report had been filed on July 19 to reflect the fact that Miller had in fact raised nearly ten times that amount: $1.036 million.
While campaigns are not required to make public the identities of these volunteer fundraisers, campaign finance law makes one exception: bundled donations above $18,700 per period from registered federal lobbyists must be disclosed.
But actual disclosures of these bundles are rare as lobbyists often split them up with colleagues to avoid hitting the disclosure threshold. While the lobbyist bundler’s name is disclosed, they are not required to publicly report which contributions the bundler collected.
The quarterly disclosure of over $1 million — which covers the period from April to June 2019 — was made by the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee shared by Trump’s reelection committee, and the Republican National Committee. The only bundler listed was Miller, CEO of Miller Strategies, LLC.
Miller was also the former manager and chief strategist for Rick Perry’s 2016 presidential bid and has been credited with helping shepherd Perry through the Senate confirmation process to become Trump’s energy secretary.
Miller has lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of numerous energy companies, including FirstEnergy Service Co., a subsidiary of the Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp.
The electric utility company made headlines last year when it sent a letter to Perry urging him to help save its failing coal and nuclear power plants by declaring an emergency order in the power industry. The request was quickly panned by industry officials, however, and one company described the request as a “manufactured crisis.”
The letter came around the same time that Miller reportedly had a dinner with Trump last April.
Recent lobby disclosures for the first quarter of 2019 shows that Miller Strategies continues to lobby the administration for FirstEnergy, along with others, including major pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners; California Independent Petroleum Association; Occidental Petroleum; the Nuclear Energy Institute; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Atlanta-based utility Southern Company; and the Dow Chemical Company.
Miller isn’t the only energy industry figure working to bankroll Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, according to the latest disclosures out this week.
Also among the top donors this quarter is Kelcy Warren, the chief executive of major pipeline company Energy Transfer Equity. Warren contributed the maximum allowable amount, $360,000, to the Trump Victory Committee; Warren’s wife also donated an equal amount.
Meanwhile, another $360,000 was donated by Diane Hendricks, chairwoman of roofing supply company ABC Supply Co. Inc. Last year, Hendricks donated $50,000 to former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s legal defense fund, which was set up amid his mounting ethics scandals.
UPDATE (07/22/19): This story has been updated to reflect an amended FEC filing by Jeff Miller clarifying that he helped raise over $1 million dollars for Trump Victory fund, not $111,000 as originally reported.