Pete Sessions Committee Assignments Congress

Campaign Committee Fundraising, 2017 - 2018

LAST REPORT: 02/14/2018

Raised:

 $1,564,513 

Spent:

 $853,228 

Cash on hand:

 $1,215,423 

Debts:

 $0 

Top Contributors, 2017 - 2018

ContributorTotalIndividualsPACs
Paragon Healthcare$17,500$17,500$0
Crow Holdings$12,800$12,800$0
Berkshire Hathaway$11,700$2,700$9,000
Fraternity & Sorority PAC$11,000$0$11,000
Cinemark Holdings$10,800$10,800$0

Top Industries, 2017 - 2018

IndustryTotalIndividualsPACs
Health Professionals$147,700$60,700$87,000
Securities & Investment$70,400$50,400$20,000
Insurance$70,100$19,600$50,500
Real Estate$63,600$46,600$17,000
Oil & Gas$61,800$26,800$35,000

Total Raised vs. Average Raised

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Source of Funds (Campaign Committee), 2017 - 2018

NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2017 - 2018 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released electronically on 03/13/18 for Fundraising totals, Source of Funds and Total Raised vs Average, and on 02/20/18 for Top Contributors and Industries.  ("Help! The numbers don't add up...")

WHY DON'T THE NUMBERS ADD UP?

Sometimes it's hard to make apple-to-apple comparisons across some of the pages in a candidate's profile. Here's why:

Summary numbers - specifically "Total Raised and Spent" and "PAC/Individual Split" - are based on summary reports filed by the candidates with the Federal Election Commission. All other numbers in these profiles ("Quality of Disclosure," "Geography" and "Special Interests") are derived from detailed FEC reports that itemize all contributions of $200 or more.

There is also a time lag in posting the information. While summary numbers are reported almost immediately by the FEC -- and listed quickly on OpenSecrets -- processing and analyzing the detailed records takes much longer. For that reason, summary numbers are usually higher (and more current) than the numbers based on detailed records.

HOW CURRENT ARE THESE FIGURES?

The figures in these profiles are taken from databases uploaded by the FEC to the internet on the first day of every month. Those databases are only as current as the FEC has been able to compile by that date (see the note above about lag times for data entry).

The Center updates figures for "Total Raised and Spent" and for "PAC/Individual Split" a few days after the first of the month. The remaining figures - based on detailed contribution data - is updated by the Center after the 20th of every month. This gives us time to analyze the contributions and categorize them by industry and interest group.

The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Why (and How) We Use Donors' Employer/Occupation Information

The organizations listed as "Top Contributors" reached this list for one of two reasons: either they gave through a political action committee sponsored by the organization, or individuals connected with the organization contributed directly to the candidate.

Under federal law, all contributions over $200 must be itemized and the donor's occupation and employer must be requested and disclosed, if provided. The Center uses that employer/occupation information to identify the donor's economic interest. We do this in two ways:

  • First, we apply a code to the contribution, identifying the industry. Totals for industries (and larger economic sectors) can be seen in each candidate and race profile, and in the Industry Profile section of the OpenSecrets website.
  • Second, we standardize the name of the donor's employer. If enough contributions came in from people connected with that same employer, the organization's name winds up on the Top Contributor list.

Of course, it is impossible to know either the economic interest that made each individual contribution possible or the motivation for each individual giver. However, the patterns of contributions provide critical information for voters, researchers and others. That is why Congress mandated that candidates and political parties request employer information from contributors and publicly report it when the contributor provides it.

In some cases, a cluster of contributions from the same organization may indicate a concerted effort by that organization to "bundle" contributions to the candidate. In other cases—both with private companies and with government agencies, non-profits and educational institutions—the reason for the contributions may be completely unrelated to the organization.

Showing these clusters of contributions from people associated with particular organizations provides a valuable—and unique—way of understanding where a candidate is getting his or her financial support. Knowing those groups is also useful after the election, as issues come before Congress and the administration that may affect those organizations and their industries.

METHODOLOGY

The figures profiled here include money from two sources: These contributors were either the sponsors of a PAC that gave to the politician, or they were listed as an individual donor's employer. Donors who give more than $200 to any federal candidate, PAC or party committee must list their occupation and employer. Based on that information, the donor is given an economic code. These totals are conservative, as not all of the individual contributions have yet been classified by the Center.

In cases where two or more people from the same family contributed, the income-earner's occupation/employer is assigned to all non-wage earning family members. If, for instance, Henry Jones lists his employer as First National Bank, his wife Matilda lists "Homemaker" and 12-year old Tammy shows up as "Student," the Center would identify all their contributions as being related to the "First National Bank" since that's the source of the family's income.

Although individual contributions are generally categorized based on the donor's occupation/employer, in some cases individuals may be classified instead as ideological donors. A contribution to a candidate may be given an ideological code, rather than an economic code, if the contributor gives to an ideological political action committee AND the candidate has received money from PACs representing that same ideological interest.

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center: info[at]crp.org

TypeAmountPercentage
Small Individual Contributions (< $200)$12,6510.81%
Large Individual Contributions$861,47555.06%
PAC Contributions$688,45844.00%
Candidate self-financing$00.00%
Other$1,9290.12%

Fundraising Events

Beneficiaries:

Pete Sessions

Ever since former Winter Park City Commissioner Karen Diebel married Texas’ U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions in 2012, questions swirled about whether Winter Park was unofficially gaining a member of Congress or losing a fixture in Central Florida politics, most recently with renewed questions about whether the congressman was living in Texas or Florida; but both Sessions insist it’s Winter Park’s loss, not gain.

Karen Sessions and Congressman Sessions’ press secretary both said late last week that it’s Karen Sessions who is commuting regularly from Texas to Florida, not him. Their Dallas home has officially become her home, even though she’s staying in Florida as much as she can until her last son graduates from high school.

The issue emerged again last week, from Democrats, when Republican state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park set fundraisers in Winter Park and Washington for his congressional campaign in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Karen and Pete Session, both Republicans, were listed as hosts, though neither actually attended either fundraiser.

Democrats, following a suspicion first raised by Congressman Sessions’ Republican critics three years ago, are charging that he’s not in Dallas, at least not much. The Democrats are targeting Sessions in the 2018 election, partly because his district went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, suggesting a partisan evolution.

“It makes sense that Congressman Pete Sessions is hosting a fundraiser in Florida, where his family has called home since 2012; what’s weird is the fact that Pete Sessions is still running for office in Texas. He’ll have some explaining to do to people back in Dallas, but first he’ll have to introduce himself – from what I hear they haven’t seen him in a while,” said Cole Leiter, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Pete Sessions has served in Congress since 1997 and now is the powerful chairman of the House Rules Committee. With two sons of his own from a previous marriage, he’s kept a Dallas home and maintained a Texas homestead exemption on that house. Karen Sessions is now listed on that homestead exemption as well.

Karen Sessions, who ran for Congress herself in 2010, has kept her home in downtown Winter Park, raising her three sons there since her first husband was killed in a tragic accident. She maintained her Florida homestead exemption, making the Winter Park home her official residence, until recently. She said she has withdrawn her exemption now. She also changed her voter registration to Texas last year.

It is a complicated family situation, but the congressman has not left his district, she said.

“I do commute from Winter Park to Dallas. I commute from Dallas to Winter Park, so we can get all my sons out of high school and into college,” said Karen Sessions, a telecommunications consultant. “Pete doesn’t come to Winter Park. He’s based in the district, doing his work, and in Washington, doing his work. It’s always been like that, and it hasn’t ever changed.”

“He’s in Dallas right now. He has a home in Uptown,” Pete Sessions’ communications director Caroline Boothe said on Friday, the day after the Miller Winter Park fundraiser. Uptown is an upscale neighborhood north of downtown. “Their home is in Dallas.”

Suspicions to the contrary first were publicly raised in 2014 by Republicans. Pete Sessions’ Republican primary challenger, Tea Party activist Katrina Pierson [who went on to be a spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign], charged that Sessions was no longer living in Dallas at that time.

Democrats raised it again last week after the Sessionses were listed on Miller’s fundraisers.

Karen Sessions’ Winter Park homestead exemption still is listed online by the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office. The office of Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh said the office has not yet received her request to withdraw it.

 

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