On Eve of 109th, Reid Gives $500,000 to DSCC

Posted January 3, 2005 at 6:46pm

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made a $500,000 donation to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday to help his party’s cash-strapped fundraising arm dig out of debt as it prepares for the 2006 midterm elections.

Reid’s donation came on the eve of the new Congress, which opens today with the swearing-in of new Members and the start of the Nevadan’s term as Democratic leader.

“We are starting a new cycle and Senator Reid believes it is important that Democrats work hard to make sure the DSCC is on sound footing as we enter the new cycle,” said Phil Singer, a Reid spokesman.

Federal Election Commission records show the DSCC owes nearly $5.2 million following an election in which Democrats needed to defend five open seats in the South and help re-elect then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.).

Democrats failed in both endeavors as the GOP swept the South and former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) defeated Daschle. When the dust settled on election night, Republicans gained four seats in the Senate to widen their majority to a 55-to-45-seat margin.

By the next day, Reid secured the support of a majority of his colleagues to succeed the South Dakotan as leader.

Making a sizable contribution to the Democratic Party is not new to Reid, who donated $1 million to the DSCC in September in the final stretch leading up to Election Day.

At the time, Democratic leaders hoped Reid’s generosity would be replicated by other Democratic Senators in possession of excess cash. Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) soon followed and donated $2 million to the DSCC’s campaign efforts in the closing weeks. Schumer is the new chairman of the DSCC.

Reid’s latest contribution is intended to spark a similar wave of contributions by Democratic Senators, who face a six-seat deficit in their bid to reclaim the majority. “Senators Reid and Schumer are working with other Senators to help close out the DSCC’s debt,” a Democratic source said. “It is important that all Senators work hard to contribute to this effort.”

The latest FEC filing also shows the DSCC has nearly $2.1 million in the bank.