Two House Committees Report Robust Fundraising

Posted January 30, 2004 at 5:39pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee remained the dominant fundraising force among the four Congressional campaign committees in 2003 — the first full year newly implemented fundraising guidelines were in effect — new Federal Election Commission reports show.

The NRCC raked in $71 million last year, breaking its previous off-year fundraising record and outdistancing the next highest committee fundraising total by $42 million.

The committee also added 400,000 new donors to its rolls and eliminated $8 million in debt from the previous cycle. Still, it ended up banking only $11 million through Dec. 31, 2003, after investing heavily in telemarketing throughout the year.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had the next best performance under the new fundraising guidelines, taking in $28.5 million during 2003.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which took effect in November 2002 and includes a ban on unregulated soft-money, was expected to hamper Democratic efforts more because the party had become heavily reliant on those funds in recent years.

Now, the committee boasts that the 2003 total is only slightly off its record $32 million take in 2001, when soft money accounted for more than half of its year-end total.

The committee raised $5 million in December and managed to pay off all of its remaining debt by the end of the year.

While the disparity between the two House committees’ ability to raise money remains great, the difference in corresponding cash-on-hand totals is much less striking.

The DCCC showed $8.5 million left in the bank on Dec. 31, compared to the almost $11 million in the NRCC’s coffers.

At the end of 2001, when the NRCC raised a total of $66 million in hard and soft dollars, the committee had almost $16 million in the bank, more than $10 million of which was hard money.

A significant portion of the NRCC’s expenditures in 2003 were made to an Akron, Ohio-based phone banking company, Infocision Management Corp.

Committee officials have maintained they have a break-even agreement with Infocision, so that if the NRCC does not raise at least the amount it invests in donor prospecting, the company will refund any difference.

Meanwhile, the cash disparity between the two Senate campaign committees is much greater heading into the election year, even though the two committees raised relatively similar amounts in 2003.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Friday that it raised close to $23 million in 2003, and it reported $2.5 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

In the first year of the previous election cycle, the DSCC raised a little more than $14 million in hard dollars, so this year’s fundraising total represents a 57 percent increase over 2001.

Although the committee paid off a little more than $4 million in debt last year, the DSCC begins 2004 with almost $2 million in debts and obligations still owed.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $26 million in 2003 and had $8.6 million left in the bank at the end of December.

At the end of 1999, the last off-year of a presidential cycle, the NRSC had raised $16 million in hard dollars, with $5.2 million of hard money in its campaign coffers.