Pelosi Continues as a Fundraising Force

Posted June 23, 2008 at 6:41pm

Republican fundraising troubles are well-documented by now, as GOP candidates and committees have struggled all cycle to raise campaign funds from the presidential to Congressional levels and beyond.

But the stark difference in the money each party’s House leaders have been able to funnel into their respective campaign arms was highlighted again last week with the release of the latest Democratic fundraising totals.

According to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising tally sheet obtained by Roll Call, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) was responsible for bringing in more than $24.7 million to the DCCC coffers through June 18.

She had raised $23.7 million toward her $25 million goal for the DCCC and paid an additional $1 million in dues. She has also given an additional $5.7 million to candidates through the “Frontline” and “Red to Blue” programs.

Pelosi has long been a formidable fundraiser for her party and as the first female Speaker, her total — while colossal — is hardly surprising. At this same point in the 2006 cycle, then-Minority Leader Pelosi had raised and contributed about $22.2 million for the DCCC.

But the significance of Pelosi’s effort — and that of the entire Democratic leadership — is magnified when compared to the GOP leadership’s fundraising totals for the cycle.

Republican leaders also recently distributed their fundraising tallies, showing Member transfers and fundraising for the National Republican Congressional Committee through June 11. The GOP tally sheets do not reflect Member participation in separate fundraising programs such as the “Regain Our Majority Program” or “Young Guns.”

The tally sheet showed that Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had raised or donated more than $1.2 million for the NRCC.

By comparison, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had directed $4.4 million to the DCCC. He has also raised or given more than $3.8 million for candidates in the DCCC’s fundraising programs.

Those connected with Boehner’s political operation said the NRCC tally is just a small portion of what the Minority Leader has done to help Republican candidates this cycle. So far this year, he has headlined 80 events for candidates and has raised more than $8.5 million this cycle for GOP candidates and parties. He has contributed another $890,000 through his political action committee.

Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) is credited with raising about $532,000 for the NRCC this cycle, while Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) has raised about $3.4 million for the DCCC.

Neither of the two top GOP leaders has contributed anything toward their $500,000 fundraising goal for the committee’s “Battleground” program. The program is set to kick off soon, now that fundraising for the President’s Dinner has ended.

Only two of the nine members of the Democratic leadership team have brought in less than $1 million for the DCCC. Assistant to the Speaker Xavier Becerra (Calif.) has raised close to $1 million, and Steering Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) has brought in roughly $568,000.

Conversely, only two of the eight Republican leaders are responsible for bringing in more than $1 million to the NRCC: Boehner and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.). Cole has raised or donated more than $1.4 million for his committee this cycle.

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) has raised and given almost $5.7 million for his committee and its fundraising programs. He has contributed another $2.3 million directly to vulnerable candidates.

Traditionally, the GOP committee’s fundraising is structured so the Battleground program helps to drive money to the NRCC later in the cycle — when it’s most needed. Democrats, meanwhile, put more of a premium on raising money earlier.

“After a successful President’s Dinner where our Members helped us surpass our goal, we are now gearing up for Battleground — a program that consistently has had the highest member participation of any of our fundraising initiatives,” NRCC spokeswoman Julie Shutley said.

Three GOP leaders have raised or contributed more than $500,000 to the NRCC’s cause: Blunt, GOP Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (Va.).

Pelosi has long been her party’s top fundraiser, and her base in San Francisco and California has aided her ability to help rake in millions of dollars.

Her fundraising style differs from former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who traveled extensively around the country raising money for candidates.

While Pelosi has traveled to half of the 50 states, her fundraising ability is still largely rooted in larger events in metropolitan areas.

Monthly fundraising reports filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission continued to show the vast disparity in available funds between the two House committees.

The DCCC reported $47.1 million in cash on hand as of May 31, while the NRCC showed about $6.6 million in the bank.

The Democratic committee raised more than $6 million in May, bringing its cycle-to-date fundraising total to $98.7 million.

The NRCC raised a little more than $5 million in May, though that total does not reflect the bulk of its fundraising haul from last week’s President’s Dinner, which raised more than $8 million for the committee. Through May 31, the NRCC had raised more than $74.2 million this cycle.