Beliefs Opinion Tobin Grant: Corner of Church and State

Pastor gave over $240,000 to Republican Senators, may be the largest contributor among U.S. Clergy

Well Travelled Message
Well Travelled Message

Clergy rarely contribute money to political campaigns. But one pastor stands out.  Dianne Schwabe of Living Faith Christian Church in Northridge, California may be the largest campaign contributor among America’s clergy, annually writing checks of up to $25,000 to support Senate Republicans.

Annual political contributions to Republicans by Pastor Dianne Schwabe of Living Faith Christian Church, Northridge California.

Annual poltiical contributions by Pastor Dianne Schwabe.

Schwabe leads the Intercessory Prayer Ministry at Living Faith Christian Church, a non-denominational charismatic church. According to the church’s website, Schwabe, “regularly travels to Washington, DC to encourage and strengthen leaders through her prophetic intercessory gifting.”

Schwabe also strengthens leaders’ campaign coffers. According to the Federal Election Commission, Schwabe has donated nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the National Republican Senatorial Committee since 2001. The NRSC is a national organization whose sole aim is to elect more Republicans to the U.S. Senate.

There are no records of any campaign contributions prior to the 2002 election cycle. Schwabe’s major contributions began during the 2004 election, when she donated over $36,000. The next cycle, her contributions jumped to over $50,000. So far this election, she has given $15,000 to the NRSC and another $1,000 to Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming).

Schwabe has also given smaller donations of to the campaigns of Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah), and Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina). She also supported the failed campaigns of Carly Fiorina in California and the brief presidential bid of Tim Pawlenty.

A search of the FEC database suggests that Schwabe is likely the largest political contributor who is in active ministry. Few others list their occupation as clergy or their employer as a church. Of those that were in the FEC database, Schwabe is far and away the largest contributor to national politics.



About the author

Tobin Grant

@TobinGrant blogs for Religion News Service at Corner of Church and State, a data-driven conversation on religion and politics. He is a political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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