Tom Daschle, a former Democratic Majority and Minority Leader in the U.S. Senate, made a $2,900 donation to Sen. Joe Manchin on March 29, according to Federal Election Commission records. The same public record indicates that the former senator’s son Nathan contributed the same amount of money to the Manchin campaign committee, also on the same date. Manchin, a Democrat in a state that has turned from Blue to Red, continues to raise money, although he has not announced whether he will seek reelection in 2024.
Daschle, who represented South Dakota in the Senate, became Minority Leader in 1995 and Majority Leader in 2001. He was defeated for reelection in 2004. Daschle is the founder and chairman of The Daschle Group at Baker Donelson, a law firm and lobbying group headquartered on K Street in Washington, D.C. Nathan Daschle is the president and COO at The Daschle Group.
Tom Daschle is also vice-chair of the National Democratic Institute, which bills itself as “a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that works in partnership around the world to strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions, processes, norms, and values to secure a better quality of life for all. NDI envisions a world where democracy and freedom prevail, with dignity for all.”
The flow of cash from Daschle and his son dropped as the West Virginia Democrat grabbed headlines for repeatedly confounding the current Democratic Majority Leader — Charles Schumer of New York. Manchin initially raised questions about President Joe Biden’s landmark Covid relief proposal. But the senator, who extols the virtues of bipartisanship, supported it after some changes were made.
Schumer also wants the Senate to approve the For the People Act, a major voting rights bill that goes after so-called “dark money” in campaigns, among other Democratic priorities. Proponents contend the proposed law can help tame the exponential growth of “voter suppression” laws in Republican-controlled state legislatures. Schumer also wants the Senate to vote this year on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would give the U.S. Department of Justice authority to review new state rules and laws that may diminish the rights of citizens to register and vote.
Manchin announced recently that he opposes the For the People Act but supports the Lewis Voting Rights Act. He also has spoken out against amending or abolishing the filibuster, a Senate rule established in the Jim Crow era. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has updated the use of the filibuster to tie the Senate in knots unless 60 senators favor a proposed law. Schumer and others say a majority vote ought to be enough to pass legislation, especially laws that deal with civil rights and voting rights.
But the passage of either or both laws remains uncertain. The Senate is split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie if Senate rules allowed for a simple majority vote.
I sent an email to Sen. Daschle Wednesday night. I will update this article if he responds to my questions.