Members Pony Up in White House Race
Clinton Takes In Most From Hill
As the 2008 presidential hopefuls raise record amounts of cash, former and current Members of Congress — using their personal campaign funds and political action committees — are doing their part to further swell the contenders’ coffers.
Fundraising records show that most Members have contributed to the candidate they have endorsed, though some current and many ex-lawmakers are hedging their bets by giving to more than one campaign.
Not surprisingly, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) led all 2008 contenders in contributions from Members in the second quarter of the year.
She collected at least $55,000 from current and former lawmakers — including an interesting mix of former Senators: Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), John Breaux (D-La.) and Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.).
D’Amato, now a New York-based lobbyist, has donated to three of the 2008 contenders, spreading his contributions across both sides of the aisle.
After giving to Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) presidential bid in March, the former New York Senator gave to Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s 2008 effort in May, and Clinton’s campaign reported D’Amato’s PAC donation on June 1.
D’Amato appeared to be lining up behind McCain in March — he reportedly endorsed him but then denied doing so the next day — but he is now firmly ensconced in former Sen. Fred Thompson’s (R-Tenn.) camp.
D’Amato is heading up Thompson’s New York campaign and acting as a national adviser.
Most of Clinton’s donations came in the form of maximum contributions from the campaign committees of her House supporters, including Democratic Reps. Gary Ackerman (N.Y.), Robert Andrews (N.J.), Tim Bishop (N.Y.), Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Ohio), Frank Pallone (N.J.) and Allyson Schwartz (Pa.).
Pallone gave through both his campaign committee and PAC.
Former Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) gave $1,000 and ex-Reps. Jim Barcia (D-Mich.) and Carrie Meek (D-Fla.) each gave $2,000.
Clinton’s haul from Members would appear to be a drop in the bucket considering she has raised more than $52.5 million for her campaign. But hers is a monumental total compared with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), her main rival.
Obama has touted the fact that 258,000 individuals donated to his campaign in the first six months of the year, but he received no contributions from Members in the second quarter.
Obama has focused on building grass-roots support for his outsider-themed campaign, for which he had raised $58.9 million as of June 30. He is not taking contributions from registered lobbyists and has received less than $6,000 from the campaign committees of federal candidates and officeholders.
“We are proud to have the support of Members like Sen. Dick Durbin [Ill.], Congressman Artur Davis [Ala.], Congressman Adam Smith [Wash.] and several others who are playing active roles organizing in their home states and advising on key issues,” said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “We can’t put a dollar sign on the value of their support.”
Earlier this year, Obama received contributions from former Democratic Sens. Fritz Hollings (S.C.) and Bob Kerrey (Neb.).
Hollings has been generous to his former colleagues (though he never served with Obama), giving $2,300 on March 16 to Obama, Clinton, Dodd, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).
Edwards, who boasts around 15 Congressional backers and whose campaign is being managed by former Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), does not appear to have gotten any contributions from current Members’ campaigns and PACs.
Richardson’s only Member contribution in the second quarter was a $2,000 check sent from Rep. Mike Doyle’s (D-Pa.) campaign committee. He also got $200 from former Rep. Bill Luther (D-Minn.) and $2,000 from Al Weed, the Democrat who has tried to unseat Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) for the past two election cycles.
Speaking of Goode, he sent $500 to Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) campaign in January — becoming the only Member thus far to donate to the Texan’s Libertarian-based bid.
Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) sent $1,000 to Paul in June and $500 to former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) in late May.
Gilmore since has dropped his presidential bid, citing his inability to keep up financially. He never received any money from past or current Members of the Old Dominion’s Congressional delegation.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) has fared only slightly better than that, receiving $1,000 from Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) PAC in late March.
Member giving to the Republican frontrunners was more brisk than that in the second quarter, though none of the GOP totals rivaled Clinton’s.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) raised about $19,000 from current and former Members in the latest quarter, a smaller amount than he had raised from his Congressional supporters in the first quarter.
In the first quarter, Utah Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett and GOP Reps. Howard McKeon (Calif.), Jim McCrery (La.) and Dave Camp (Mich.) were among the campaign’s biggest Congressional benefactors.
Georgia GOP Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price sent donations to Romney in the second quarter, as did former Republican Reps. Henry Bonilla (Texas), Chris Chocola (Ind.) and Jennifer Dunn (Wash.).
Romney reported a $2,000 donation from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on April 5, though Blackburn has since switched her allegiances to home-state favorite Thompson.
He also reported a $1,800 in-kind contribution from retiring Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) for a mailing list rental.
McCain, whose campaign appeared on the verge of collapse after the second-quarter numbers became public, reported contributions from GOP Reps. Christopher Shays (Conn.), Chip Pickering (Miss.), Ray LaHood (Ill.), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.) and John Shimkus (Ill.) in the period.
GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.) as well as GOP Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) gave to McCain earlier in the year.
Former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) gave $1,000 to McCain in June and former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) gave in late May. Campbell, who retired in 2004, also donated to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s (R) presidential effort four days later.
Giuliani received money from GOP Reps. Candice Miller (Mich.), Pete Sessions (Texas) and Jim Walsh (N.Y.), all of whom have endorsed his campaign.
He also received contributions from the PACs of former Energy Secretary and ex-Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.) and ex-Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.).
Former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) did not give to Giuliani, but his PAC sent $2,100 to Romney in January.
Back on the Democratic side, it appears that Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is going out of his way not to slight any of his colleagues based on his giving pattern.
Inouye, who is officially backing Clinton in the White House race, gave $10,000 to Biden through his leadership PAC on June 30. At the end of March, Inouye gave a total of $14,000 through his PAC and campaign accounts to Dodd’s presidential bid. It does not appear that he has given money to Clinton, however.
Biden’s only other Congressional contribution in the period was a contribution from Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.).
Dodd received $12,000 in the second quarter from his House supporters. Democratic Reps. Patrick Kennedy (R.I.), Sam Farr (Calif.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) donated to Dodd through their PACs or campaign committees.
Wealthy businessman Ned Lamont, who defeated Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) in a primary last year only to lose the general election to the now Independent Democrat, also gave $2,300 to Dodd through his campaign fund.
Finally, there’s Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has not received any public endorsements from his colleagues. The Ohioan hasn’t gotten any money from his peers, but he did receive $50 from Tom Wyka (D), the Democrat who got 27 percent of the vote running against Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) in 2006.