Cantor, McCarthy hit the fundraising circuit on behalf of GOP freshmen

Paul Conner | Executive Editor

The “young guns” are looking to shore up the gains they made in 2010 with a spate of September fundraisers in South Carolina and Florida.

The fundraisers featuring top Republican leadership are aimed at supporting several GOP freshmen who are being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who with Rep. Paul Ryan call themselves the Republican “young guns,” are showing some love to the South Carolina congressional delegation that caused House Speaker John Boehner much consternation in the debt ceiling debate.

Cantor and McCarthy are scheduled guests at a Sept. 6 roundtable and breakfast reception featuring South Carolina’s four Republican freshmen — Reps. Tim Scott, Mick Mulvaney, Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan.

“Leader Cantor and Whip McCarthy continue to be gracious to and fully supportive of the South Carolina freshmen delegation,” Rep. Trey Gowdy told The Daily Caller. “They have both been to South Carolina multiple times. They are always very warmly received and have a lot of support in South Carolina.”

The cost of admission? $2,000 per person or $8,000 per political action committee for the roundtable, and $1,000 per person and per PAC for the breakfast reception. The event is being promoted by the freshmen’s elder statesman, Rep. Joe Wilson, who has served nearly a decade in Congress.

Guests are instructed to make their checks out to the South Carolina Young Guns Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee benefiting all four freshmen that filed with the FEC July 30. The fund was organized this year with the same Richmond, Va., address as the national Young Guns Victory Fund, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Cantor and McCarthy have done something similar in Florida, establishing the Florida Young Guns Victory Fund with the same address and treasurer as the national committee. The Florida joint fund, which filed with the FEC July 29, benefits GOP freshmen Reps. Allen West, Sandy Adams, Rich Nugent, Dennis Ross, Steve Southerland and Daniel Webster, FEC documents show.

On Sept. 6, the day before Congress ends its August recess, Cantor and McCarthy will jet from the Columbia breakfast to a Tampa, Fla., country club for a roundtable and lunch reception benefiting the Florida Young Guns, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Thirteen days later, McCarthy will again join all five South Carolina Republican congressmen for a birthday celebration and fundraiser for Rep. Tim Scott in Charleston.

“Having just celebrated another birthday in late August, the word ‘young’ is not an accurate reflection of my station in life,” Gowdy joked. “I support the ‘Young Gun’ program because it enables us to have a concerted effort to add to our Republican majority and assist those colleagues who have been targeted by the DCCC.”

McCarthy is king of the GOP fundraising circuit, raising over $1 million for House incumbents in the first six months of 2011, according to FEC records. His efforts are part of a larger effort to identify and encourage up-and-coming conservatives to run for office, and to establish and maintain those who win.

Indeed, the Young Guns have a new joint fundraising fund of their own — the Young Guns Victory Fund, which brings together Cantor’s ERICPAC, McCarthy’s Majority Committee PAC and Rep. Paul Ryan’s Prosperity PAC. The fund filed a statement of organization last Friday.

A spokesperson from Cantor’s office declined to comment, and McCarthy’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

West, Adams and Southerland in Florida and Scott in South Carolina have been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for sponsoring legislation in July that would require the federal government to pay its debts to China before sending out Social Security checks and for supporting the Ryan budget, which would reform Medicare.

The DCCC is also targeting Rivera as part of its “Drive for 25” campaign to take back the House of Representatives. The committee also hit Southerland for comments saying that his congressional $174,000 salary was not worth the safety risk in the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ January shooting.

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