GOP Committees Keep Building Up Money Edges

Posted November 21, 2003 at 6:24pm

The House and Senate Republican campaign committees continued to build on their financial advantages during the month of October, with Senate Democrats left facing the greatest fundraising disparity a year out from the 2004 elections.

Newly filed fundraising reports also showed that three out of the four campaign committees spent more than they raised last month.

Still, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee had $7.4 million and $8.4 million in cash, respectively, and zero debt at the end of October.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had a little less than $5 million in cash on hand after spending almost twice the amount it raised during October. The NRCC also spent slightly more than it raised last month but carried more cash than any other campaign committee.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ended October in the poorest position among the four campaign committees. The DSCC lagged behind all other committees in receipts for the month and showed more debt than cash on hand.

The DSCC raised $765,000 during October while it spent $2 million. The DSCC had $1.2 million in cash on hand on Nov. 1 and still carried a debt totaling $1.9 million after paying close to $500,000 toward loans in October.

Meanwhile, the NRSC raised $1.9 million during October and spent $1.5 million, making it the only committee to spend less than what it raised in the period. The NRSC, which had $7.4 million in the bank at the end of October, raised $247,000 from political action committees last month, more than any other committee raised from PACs in the same period.

So far this cycle, the NRSC has raised a total of $23 million, compared to the $17 million raised by the DSCC.

On the House side, both the NRCC and DCCC spent more than they took in during October, as Republicans continued to spend heavily on telephone banks and Democrats worked to pay down debt.

The NRCC raised $4.2 million during October and showed operating costs totalling the same amount. All together the committee spent $4.6 million, including a $300,000 transfer to the Republican National Committee.

Much of the committee’s spending so far this cycle has been to an Ohio-based telemarketing firm it has employed in hopes of further expanding its hard-dollar donor base. In October, the NRCC spent more than half of its operating expenditures — almost $2.4 million — on “phone banks.”

Meanwhile, the DCCC raised $1.9 million and spent $3.3 million, ending last month with just $876,000 in remaining debts and obligations. The committee began the cycle with more than $6 million in bank loans, and at the end of September it had almost $1.8 million in remaining debt.

The DCCC is not required to pay off its debt before November 2004, although committee leaders have pledged to do so. The NRCC paid off the last of the $6 million debt it carried over from the last election in May.

Several Members kicked in their “dues” to help out the NRCC.

Reps. David Dreier (R-Calif.) and Billy Tauzin (R-La.), both of whom are committee chairmen, each gave the NRCC $25,000 during October.

Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) gave $20,000, and GOP Reps. Gil Gutknecht (Minn.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), John Peterson (Pa.) and Jack Quinn (N.Y.) each gave $15,000.

Freshman Reps. John Boozman (Ark.), Gresham Barrett (S.C.) and Mike Rogers (Ala.) gave $6,000 each.

In Member giving on the Democratic side, Reps. Chaka Fattah (Pa.) and Ted Strickland (Ohio) each gave $25,000 to the DCCC. Rep. Mike Ross (Ark.) forked over $10,000, while Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.) gave $5,000.

Overall, the DCCC has raised $22 million so far this cycle, while the NRCC has raked in more than $64 million.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, passed in the 107th Congress, banned the party committees from raising soft money and was seen as a devastating blow to Democrats, who had become reliant on the form of financing over the past several elections.

In October, the NRCC raised more than twice as much from individuals as the DCCC did. The new reports show the NRCC took in $2.2 million in itemized contributions (those more than $200 ) and another $1.7 in unitemized contributions from individuals. The DCCC raised $518,000 in itemized contributions from individuals and another $1.1 million in unitemized receipts.