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In the campaign finance game, much hay is made over how much money a candidate can raise; in the race to be the next ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, however, itís just as important how much money a candidate can spend on friends.
Rivals Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., showed inrecent filings with the Federal Election Commission that they have raked in significant contributions from downtown donors in K Street lobby shops, in industries like technology and health care. But in their bids to succeed retiring California Rep. Henry A. Waxman as the powerful panelís top Democrat, showing their clout and increasing their viability among their peers depends largely on how generous they can be with their checkbooks.
After all, when the time comes to chose the next ranking member of Energy and Commerce after the midterm elections, it wonít be outside interests, but the other 190 members of the House Democratic Caucus who will ultimately vote for either Pallone or Eshoo.
In the yearís first quarter, Pallone and Eshoo both raised money through two sources: Their standard re-election committees and their leadership PACs.
Pallone raised $200,458 in the first quarter through Pallone for Congress. From the same war chest, he cut checks totaling $65,000 for the re-election campaigns of 43 fellow House Democrats. He files reports with the FEC monthly for his leadership PAC ó Shore PAC ó and in his March 20 filing, the first since declaring his ranking member candidacy, he contributed $28,000 to 25 membersí re-election bids with checks that ranged from $1,000 to $2,000. According to Palloneís April 20 Shore PAC filings, he raised $116,000 and contributed $33,000 to 24 members, again in $1,000 and $2,000 increments.
Eshoo, the partyís fifth most senior member on the panel, filed an FEC report showing she raised $159,265 in the first quarter through Anna Eshoo for Congress, and wrote checks to four colleagues at $2,000 apiece. She also debuted the first quarterly filing of the first leadership PAC of her 22-year congressional career, established to boost her ranking member bid.
Peninsula PAC, formerly known as Anna PAC before the FEC said she couldnít raise money with an entity bearing her name, took in $203,000 in the first quarter and disbursed $66,000 to 33 colleagues in $2,000 increments.
Unlike Pallone, Eshoo filed her leadership PAC for the quarter rather than by the month.