Republicans Lead Way in WH Giving

Posted October 17, 2003 at 6:17pm

Congressional Republicans were apparently much more eager than their Democratic counterparts to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to the race for the White House.

Nearly 100 Republican House Members and Senators dipped into their campaign accounts or leadership political action committees in the past three months to contribute to President Bush’s re-election campaign.

All told, 87 House Members made $1,000 donations according to PoliticalMoneyline.com, with a select few such as Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.) also donating money from their leadership PACS.

Both Hastert and Kirk recently became “Rangers,” meaning they have helped bundle at least $200,000 to the Bush campaign this cycle. Rep. Jennifer Dunn (Wash.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) are also Rangers.

Six Senators also gave to Bush, with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) and Sen. Conrad Burns (Mont.) leading the way by each chipping in $5,000 from their leadership committees.

Sens. Sam Brownback (Kan.), John Ensign (Nev.) and John Warner (Va.) each donated $2,000 from their leadership PACs; Sen. Bob Bennett (Utah) gave $1,000 from his re-election committee. Former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) gave $2,000.

Sens. Gordon Smith (Ore.), Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Peter Fitzgerald (Ill.) are Rangers.

Since the formation of the Bush re-election effort in May, 120 House Members and Senators have donated directly to the effort, roughly 40 percent of the 282 Republican legislators on Capitol Hill.

Bush has already raised better than $85 million for the 2004 race and appears on the way to topping his initial campaign budget of $185 million.

The nine candidates seeking the Democratic nomination against Bush received far fewer donations from Capitol Hill in the third quarter.

Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) led the way with four contributions from the House and Senate.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.) each donated $2,000, while home-state colleagues Reps. Jim McGovern and John Tierney each gave $1,000.

Kerry also received a $2,000 donation from former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), who introduced the Massachusetts Senator at his official campaign announcement last month.

State Sen. Burt Cohen (N.H.), who is running for Senate in 2004 against Sen. Judd Gregg (R), ponied up $1,000, and former 2001 Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa gave Kerry $2,000.

Gephardt, who has set the pace so far among the Democratic presidential candidates with the endorsements of 32 House Members, received $4,000 from Rep. Sherrod Brown’s (Ohio) PAC, $2,500 from Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (Md.) Ameripac and a $1,000 contribution from Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.).

Gephardt also received checks from former House candidates Ralph Neas (Md.) and Richard Romero (N.M.).

Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) received $1,000 donations from Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and the leadership PAC of Rep. Robert Wexler (Fla.).

The newest entrant into the presidential race, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, received contributions from Reps. Betty McCollum (Minn.), Steve Israel (N.Y.) and Mike Ross (Ark.). Clark has 12 Members backing his bid.

Interestingly, former Vermont Gov. Dean, who raised $10 million more than any other candidate in the field over the past three months, received only a single contribution from Capitol Hill in the period.

That came in the form of a $1,000 check from Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), one of nine Members of Congress backing him.

The Rev. Al Sharpton matched Dean’s fundraising total from Congress with a $1,000 donation from Rep. Edolphus Towns (N.Y.).

Neither Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) nor Rep. Dennis Kucinich took in a single donation from a Member of Congress, according to their October quarterly reports.