GOP Stalwarts Lag in Dinner Fundraising

Posted June 7, 2005 at 6:43pm

With the gala President’s Dinner scheduled for next week, more than two dozen senior House Republicans are still scrambling to meet their six-figure fundraising obligations.

The dinner — a joint effort between the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee — will be held June 14 at the Washington Convention Center.

The NRCC’s fundraising goal is $14 million, and committee spokesman Carl Forti said that “we are well on our way to meeting our goal.”

On an individual level, however, many House Republicans in key committee posts still have a long way to go.

Party leaders require the chairmen of exclusive “A” committees to pony up $150,000 apiece for the dinner, while other full committee chairmen are expected to give $100,000.

According to an official list obtained by Roll Call, 10 out of 20 full committee chairmen had not yet given any money toward the dinner as of Monday. Seven had paid only some of what they owed, while just three chairmen had met or exceeded their full obligations.

The 10 who had not yet paid a cent were: Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), Budget Chairman Jim Nussle (Iowa), Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (Va.), House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (Ohio), International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde (Ill.), Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), Rules Chairman David Dreier (Calif.), Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.), Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Steve Buyer (Ind.) and Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (Calif.).

Aides to Members on that list whose offices returned calls seeking comment said their chairmen were striving to meet their obligations.

“We are actively working on it,” said Sensenbrenner spokesman Raj Bharwani. “My boss has always helped out in the past and he will continue to do so.”

Sam Marchio, spokesman for Boehlert, said, “Congressman Boehlert is actively working the phones. He believes it’s important to raise money for the party, and he wants to ensure a successful outcome for the dinner.”

While some Members might ultimately fall short of their obligations, Republican leadership sources said many lawmakers traditionally didn’t hand over their checks until immediately before or, sometimes, after the dinner.

Full committee chairmen aren’t the only Republican lawmakers with fundraising requirements. Subcommittee chairmen and a handful of other senior Members on the exclusive panels are also expected to pony up between $50,000 and $100,000 apiece.

As of Monday, seven out of 10 Appropriations cardinals had yet to donate anything toward the dinner. The same was true for five of the six Energy and Commerce subcommittee chairmen and three of the six Ways and Means subcommittee heads.

On the other end of the spectrum, a handful of Republicans with senior committee slots have actually exceeded their obligations, including Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (Calif.) and Reps. Ernest Istook (Okla.), Zach Wamp (Tenn.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Mike Rogers (Mich.).