Paul Ryan Nabs Romney Fundraiser
Spencer Zwick, one of the most prolific fundraisers in the history of American politics, will head up the finance efforts of the new Republican Speaker of the House, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, according to two Republicans familiar with Ryan’s planning.
Zwick, who was the leader of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's money operation, will assume the title of National Finance Chairman of the various fundraising entities associated with Ryan. Zwick and Ryan worked closely together in 2012, when Ryan joined Romney's ticket as his running mate, and developed a close personal and professional relationship.
One of Ryan's concerns when he was being urged to run for speaker several weeks ago to replace John Boehner was the burdens of fundraising. Ryan, who has school-aged children and is determined to preserve his weekends at home in Janesville, Wisconsin, spending time with his family and constituents, was unwilling to assume the road warrior schedule of courting donors and appearing at fundraising events that both Boehner and his Democratic predecessor as speaker, Nancy Pelosi, made central to the job.
Zwick’s vast coast-to-coast connections to donors and bundlers of checks should take a substantial burden off of Ryan. Unlike some fundraising specialists who have a network limited by geography or profession, Zwick’s work with Romney and other fundraising efforts has given him a broad and deep Rolodex that is the envy of politicians in both parties. His web of associates includes many wealthy individuals willing and able to write checks in excess of $1 million.
Matt Waldrip, a long-time aide to Zwick and Romney, will also sign on as a senior adviser.
The fundraising entities that Zwick will helm are collectively referred to as “Team Ryan” by those close to the new speaker. Team Ryan is a joint fundraising committee consisting of Ryan’s own campaign committee, his leadership PAC (called Prosperity Action), and the National Republican Congressional Committee, the main fundraising vehicle supporting House Republican candidates and incumbents. The two major goals of the enterprise will be to promote Ryan’s agenda as speaker and preserve the party’s current House majority.
Zwick will not have a formal role at the NRCC, but will help out as Ryan’s efforts intersect with the groups.
Even as Zwick takes on a major role with Ryan, he will continue his fundraising work with the group America Rising, a research and communications group focused on helping Republican candidates up and down the ballot in 2016, with a special emphasis on defeating the expected Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Zwick will also continue in his day job as co-founder and managing partner at Solamere Capital, a strategic investment firm, where he works with Romney’s son Tagg.
Although Ryan has downplayed any prospect of running for president down the road, after passing on the 2016 race, his deepening ties to Zwick could give him a fundraising foundation should he decide to eventually run. Both men are young enough to stay involved in national politics for several more decades.
In a statement prepared for release on Monday announcing the move, Ryan is quoted as saying, “I’m honored that Spencer is willing to help me setup a finance network that puts House Republicans in a position to defend and expand our majority. His track record of developing successful political operations speaks for itself…”