Advertisement

Retiring Democrats Aren't Paying Party Dues

By The Hill, The Hill - June 17, 2010

House Democratic leaders want a going-away present from the members who are leaving Congress next year "” their committee dues.

A dozen retiring House Democrats have racked up almost $2 million in outstanding balances with the party's campaign committee while, in some cases, maintaining flush war chests.

Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), for instance, has only paid the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) $100,000 of the $500,000 he owes in dues, according to documents obtained by The Hill.

Obey, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, announced his retirement last month after serving 20 terms in the House. He had more than $1.3 million in his campaign account as of his last Federal Election Commission (FEC) report.

A spokeswoman for Obey did not respond to a request for comment.

The DCCC said it welcomes contributions from its retiring members.

"The DCCC is a member-participation organization, and we appreciate everything our members do for us in ensuring we have a strong Democratic majority," said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the DCCC.

Even in a good year, collecting member dues is hard for committee staffers from both parties. Dues are set on a scale, taking into account factors like time in Congress, whether a member is in leadership and the lawmaker's campaign needs.

Many members want to hold on to their hard-earned cash until they know they're in the clear. And this cycle is going to be tough for incumbents. Many are viewing it as every-man-for-himself and could try to avoid paying for as long as they can. 

But retiring Democrats are leaving the political arena, and strategists want them to help their party before they go.

"Dues are an investment in keeping a strong Democratic majority. If the DCCC doesn't have the resources to fight back, every member pays the price," a senior Democratic strategist told The Hill.

That price could be heavy this year. An NPR survey released Tuesday showed Republican candidates leading in 60 Democratic-held seats. Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg's firm called the results a "wake-up call for Democrats, whose losses in the House could well exceed 30 seats."

A loss of 40 seats would shift control back to the Republicans and result in the loss of plum committee positions for Democrats. Still, some committee chairmen, such as retiring Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), are also behind on their payments.

Gordon owes slightly less than $100,000 despite having $1,103,554 in the bank as of his last report.

A spokeswoman for Gordon said the money will be forthcoming.

"The campaign sends the DCCC a check every month. Much of its money is tied up in C.D.s that won't mature until this summer and fall," Emily Phelps, a spokeswoman for Gordon, said in an e-mail. "Congressman Gordon anticipates paying his dues in full and on time. The FEC places strict limitations [on] how leftover campaign funds can and can't be used and requires reports to be filed as long as funds remain."

Other Democrats in leadership positions have also fallen behind.

Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a deputy whip, has paid $165,000 of the $300,000 he owes, despite retiring and having some $1.2 million cash on hand. Additionally, he's raised only $65,000 toward his goal of $500,000 for the DCCC.

"Congressman Tanner is dedicated to supporting like-minded candidates and plans to meet his commitments," Randy Ford, a spokesman for Tanner, said in an e-mail.

Other members have burgeoning campaign accounts but have contributed zero dollars to the committee.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), for instance, had $540,491 cash on hand as of his spring FEC filing. He announced his retirement in December last year. He hasn't paid any of the $150,000 he owes the DCCC for the 2009-10 cycle. Moreover, of his $100,000 fundraising goal for the committee, he's chipped in just $1,000.

Some members took issue with the suggestion they weren't contributing their fair share.

Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), who announced in December he's retiring after seven terms, said he doesn't raise money in the off-year. 

"I don't have money, and I don't have money to donate," Snyder told The Hill.

He hasn't paid any money toward the $150,000 in dues he owes the committee, the documents show.

Snyder said it's "illegal" for him to raise money after announcing his retirement. "We're actually trying to shut the whole thing down," he said about his campaign account. "I don't have a war chest. I have almost no money at this point."

His April FEC report shows him with $1,512 in the bank. Snyder's office said he plans to raise money for other candidates this cycle.

Federal regulations allow a retiring member to continue to raise money for his campaign if his cash on hand is less than his debt, according to a spokeswoman for the FEC. The rules don't specify whether a member can keep fundraising if he's not in debt, and there are no restrictions on a retiring member raising money for the DCCC.

Members often roll their campaign funds into a political action committee after leaving office because it allows them to remain politically active. But with the Democrats in danger of losing their majority in the House, strategists suggest it may be a better career move to use the cash to help maintain their numbers come November. Former members have more attractive job prospects if they're connected to the majority party.

Not all members are thinking about their next career move. 

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) is retiring this year but his wife, Stephene Moore, is running to succeed him. His entire $250,000 balance is outstanding with the committee, despite having $412,188 in his campaign account as of March 31. He may be hanging on to that cash to find a way to help his wife's candidacy.

A spokesman for Moore's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/103693-house-dems-not-paying-dues The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsisiary of News Communications, Inc. Comments (8)What? Where is the surprise? They bury the country in debt, now they leave owing their party a lot of cash…is there a surprise here?BY Spin Control on 06/17/2010 at 07:05Did Cheney and Busch ever account for ransacking and plundering the Treasury, in so many ways, before they left town? They buried us in big time debt and a serious loss of freedoms. Their "Crusade" or wars for Israel just happened to profit their corporations, while their campaign contributions were kickback benefits from the stealth State.BY Revere on 06/17/2010 at 07:38revere; you know that? are you willing to prove that under oathe? Or are you again spilling S**t out of your mouth that you know nothing abou. You do know you RATS held congress from 2006 on. I know the koolaid has made you stupid drunk. Most of the time sane people with different ideas address these comments and it is fun to banter with them, but somebody should just break you keyboard.BY Fred on 06/17/2010 at 08:03Just goes to show their ethics and character…all negativeBY Michael r on 06/17/2010 at 08:07Den of thieves…BY New_Congress_Please on 06/17/2010 at 08:10Maybe Obey didn't respond to the press inquiry because he's chair of appropriations, not ways and means.BY GR Patriot on 06/17/2010 at 08:31REVERE - Psst… guess what? Bush and Cheney have been out of office for 18 months now… get over it. And besides that this article is about retiring Congressmen not paying their union dues to the thugs of the DCCC. Funny how you turned this into a "Blame Bush" story.. Oh that's right… it's got to be Bush's fault.BY JLC on 06/17/2010 at 08:39No Honor among thieves?? I'm shocked! Does it surprise anyone that Democrats don't pay their bills. They all think they are entitled to other peoples money. It is reflected in everything they do. They are also protesting the ETHICS Committee. Democrats Lie, cheat and steal and bribe. They are corrupt to the core.BY Kala on 06/17/2010 at 08:42Add Comment

Name (required)

E-Mail (will not be published) (required)

Your Comments

Submit CommentClear The Hill Archives: Senate | House | Administration | Campaign | Business & Lobbying | Capital Living | Opinion View News by Subject: Defense & Homeland Security | Energy & Environment | Healthcare | Finance & Economy | Technology | Foreign Policy | Labor | Transportation & Infrastructure GO TO THE HILL HOME » Ballot Box Sections: Ballot Box Home » House races » Senate races » Dem primaries » GOP primaries » Polls » Fundraising » Campaign ads » Race ratings » Campaign committees » Campaign News Greene win clears one hurdle House Democrats set to retire aren't paying their party's dues Carnahan, GOP challenger battle over financial disclosures Sen. Feinstein blasts House Democrats' deal with the NRA on Disclose Act Dems face backlash over NRA deal Centrist GOP senators not in rush to support challenger to Reid Democrat Alvin Greene sees S.C. Republicans come to his aid Insider candidates struggle in primaries Candidates in final stage to replace Bennett Republicans to celebrate 149 members for $5 million NRCC fundraising drive Reid's proposal on home tax credit boosts campaign theme Dems not showing Barrow the money after his vote on healthcare Angle coming to Washington to stragetize with top Republican advisers Surprise S.C. Senate candidate to 'focus on the issues' vs. DeMint Campaign Archive » Ballot BoxMost Popular Stories Most ViewedSouth Carolina board will not investigate Greene winHouse Democrats set to retire aren't paying their party's duesTop of the ballot: Ron Paul picks his winner in UtahMinority Whip Kyl will help Reid challengerNew numbers in North Carolina runoffEmailedHouse Democrats set to retire aren't paying their party's duesNew numbers in North Carolina runoffPresidential hopeful Pawlenty sets up state PACs in Iowa and New HampshireDiscussedHouse Democrats set to retire aren't paying their party's duesSouth Carolina board will not investigate Greene winNew numbers in North Carolina runoffMinority Whip Kyl will help Reid challengerTea Party group backing Sen. Murkowski opponent Blog Home » Most Viewed RSS Feed » Briefing Room MORNING READSenate GOP warns Obama against using spill to push for energy billSen. Feinstein blasts House Democrats' deal with the NRA on Disclose Act More Briefing Room » Congress Blog Liberal CBPP attack against Thune Tax Extender Amendment is patently falseFair wages, retirement security really are the "high road"Thune amendment would shut down much of the federal government for final months of fiscal year More Congress Blog » Pundits Blog BP performance: Fund and gamesObama's global coalition against ArizonaNow what? More Pundits Blog » Twitter Room Hoekstra: Say yes! To Michigan (State)!Gibbs returns to Twitter after 18-day absenceMcCain and Lieberman react to Petraeus collapse on Twitter More Twitter Room » Hillicon Valley Former White House new media official claims big progressState Dept sees diplomatic potential in SMSDemocrats push FCC ahead of key vote More Hillicon Valley » E2-Wire Senate GOP warns Obama against using spill to push for energy billE2 Round-up will return FridayClimate change legislation teetering after setbacks from Oval Office and Congress More E2-Wire » Ballot Box House Democrats set to retire aren't paying their party's duesSouth Carolina board will not investigate Greene winLabor on the air against Whitman More Ballot Box » On The Money Spirit Airlines back up and flying on Friday House set to complete work on small business billMiller blasts Senate Democrats for dropping disclosure provision from tax extenders More On The Money » Healthwatch Obama administration pushes back on healthcare reform implementationLeading the news todayObama touts benefits of healthcare reform law -- one by one More Healthwatch » Blogs News Feed You need Flash Player 8 (or higher) and JavaScript enabled to view this content var config = new Array(); // Edit these parameters to configure your Brightcove Badge config["divId"] = "flashcontent"; config["playerId"] = 28096213001; //the player's id config["lineupId"] = null; //lineup id (optional, if not used enter null) config["columns"] = 2; //number of columns config["rows"] = 1; //number of rows config["bgcolor"] = "#FFFFFF"; //movie background color config["openInNewWindow"] = "true"; //open player in a new window createbadge(config); COLUMNISTS Lanny Davis Progressive danger A.B. Stoddard Obama's oil speech sinks Brent Budowsky Obama's moment of truth Dick Morris Obama vs. press freedom More Columnists »

Get latest news from The Hill direct to your inbox, RSS reader and mobile devices.

function proc_w_cb(elm) { var button = $(elm); var div = button.getParent(); var email = div.getChildren('input').filterByClass('email'); var email_value = email.getProperty('value'); var myXHR = new XHR({ method: 'get', onSuccess: function(response) { alert(response); }, onFailure: function() { alert('Error'); } }).send('/newsalert_saver/newsalert.saver.php', 'task=ajax_add_email&email='+email_value); }; Home/NewsNews by SubjectBlogsBusiness & LobbyingOpinionCapital LivingSpecial ReportsJobsThe Washington Scene Home | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Subscriptions

The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax

The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

_qoptions={ qacct:"p-51dZx4IkAE4Zk" }; var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-10188146-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} var _sf_async_config={uid:3100,domain:"thehill.com"}; (function(){ function loadChartbeat() { window._sf_endpt=(new Date()).getTime(); var e = document.createElement('script'); e.setAttribute('language', 'javascript'); e.setAttribute('type', 'text/javascript'); e.setAttribute('src', (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://s3.amazonaws.com/" : "http://") + "static.chartbeat.com/js/chartbeat.js"); document.body.appendChild(e); } var oldonload = window.onload; window.onload = (typeof window.onload != 'function') ? loadChartbeat : function() { oldonload(); loadChartbeat(); }; })();

Obey, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, announced his retirement last month after serving 20 terms in the House. He had more than $1.3 million in his campaign account as of his last Federal Election Commission (FEC) report.

A spokeswoman for Obey did not respond to a request for comment.

The DCCC said it welcomes contributions from its retiring members.

"The DCCC is a member-participation organization, and we appreciate everything our members do for us in ensuring we have a strong Democratic majority," said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the DCCC.

Even in a good year, collecting member dues is hard for committee staffers from both parties. Dues are set on a scale, taking into account factors like time in Congress, whether a member is in leadership and the lawmaker's campaign needs.

Many members want to hold on to their hard-earned cash until they know they're in the clear. And this cycle is going to be tough for incumbents. Many are viewing it as every-man-for-himself and could try to avoid paying for as long as they can. 

But retiring Democrats are leaving the political arena, and strategists want them to help their party before they go.

"Dues are an investment in keeping a strong Democratic majority. If the DCCC doesn't have the resources to fight back, every member pays the price," a senior Democratic strategist told The Hill.

That price could be heavy this year. An NPR survey released Tuesday showed Republican candidates leading in 60 Democratic-held seats. Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg's firm called the results a "wake-up call for Democrats, whose losses in the House could well exceed 30 seats."

A loss of 40 seats would shift control back to the Republicans and result in the loss of plum committee positions for Democrats. Still, some committee chairmen, such as retiring Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), are also behind on their payments.

Gordon owes slightly less than $100,000 despite having $1,103,554 in the bank as of his last report.

A spokeswoman for Gordon said the money will be forthcoming.

"The campaign sends the DCCC a check every month. Much of its money is tied up in C.D.s that won't mature until this summer and fall," Emily Phelps, a spokeswoman for Gordon, said in an e-mail. "Congressman Gordon anticipates paying his dues in full and on time. The FEC places strict limitations [on] how leftover campaign funds can and can't be used and requires reports to be filed as long as funds remain."

Other Democrats in leadership positions have also fallen behind.

Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a deputy whip, has paid $165,000 of the $300,000 he owes, despite retiring and having some $1.2 million cash on hand. Additionally, he's raised only $65,000 toward his goal of $500,000 for the DCCC.

"Congressman Tanner is dedicated to supporting like-minded candidates and plans to meet his commitments," Randy Ford, a spokesman for Tanner, said in an e-mail.

Other members have burgeoning campaign accounts but have contributed zero dollars to the committee.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), for instance, had $540,491 cash on hand as of his spring FEC filing. He announced his retirement in December last year. He hasn't paid any of the $150,000 he owes the DCCC for the 2009-10 cycle. Moreover, of his $100,000 fundraising goal for the committee, he's chipped in just $1,000.

Some members took issue with the suggestion they weren't contributing their fair share.

Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), who announced in December he's retiring after seven terms, said he doesn't raise money in the off-year. 

"I don't have money, and I don't have money to donate," Snyder told The Hill.

He hasn't paid any money toward the $150,000 in dues he owes the committee, the documents show.

Snyder said it's "illegal" for him to raise money after announcing his retirement. "We're actually trying to shut the whole thing down," he said about his campaign account. "I don't have a war chest. I have almost no money at this point."

His April FEC report shows him with $1,512 in the bank. Snyder's office said he plans to raise money for other candidates this cycle.

Federal regulations allow a retiring member to continue to raise money for his campaign if his cash on hand is less than his debt, according to a spokeswoman for the FEC. The rules don't specify whether a member can keep fundraising if he's not in debt, and there are no restrictions on a retiring member raising money for the DCCC.

Members often roll their campaign funds into a political action committee after leaving office because it allows them to remain politically active. But with the Democrats in danger of losing their majority in the House, strategists suggest it may be a better career move to use the cash to help maintain their numbers come November. Former members have more attractive job prospects if they're connected to the majority party.

Not all members are thinking about their next career move. 

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) is retiring this year but his wife, Stephene Moore, is running to succeed him. His entire $250,000 balance is outstanding with the committee, despite having $412,188 in his campaign account as of March 31. He may be hanging on to that cash to find a way to help his wife's candidacy.

Read Full Article »

Latest On Twitter

Follow Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics Video

More RCP Video Highlights »