Lieberman Continues Democratic Giving

Posted November 11, 2008 at 3:38pm

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) has been nearly three times as generous to his fellow Democrats during the 2008 campaign cycle than he was when he was solidly in the Democratic Party fold just four years ago.

Over the past two years, Lieberman has given — through his own personal campaign fund and his leadership political action committee, Reuniting Our Country PAC — $315,000 to Democratic candidates and party committees.

Of Lieberman’s contributions this cycle, $230,000 went to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $75,000 went to incumbent Democratic Senators, and $5,000 each went to the Senate candidacies of former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) and Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

When he was vying for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004 — and even after he dropped out of the race — Lieberman gave $109,500 in total contributions to Democrats. In the 2006 election cycle, he gave very little to fellow Democrats, but he was battling a tough primary challenger, Ned Lamont. Lieberman lost to Lamont, but he ultimately won re-election as an Independent and continued to caucus with Senate Democrats.

Lieberman’s contributions this cycle to Democrats come during the same period he was actively supporting and stumping for the GOP presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). That backing has gotten Lieberman into hot water with his Democratic Senate colleagues, who are now considering stripping him of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met privately with Lieberman last week to discuss his future, which included abandoning the Homeland Security perch and taking a lesser committee chairmanship.

As he looks to hold on, Lieberman has argued that he has been loyal and generous to his fellow Democrats — despite the fact that many of his Senate colleagues endorsed Lamont after the 2006 Connecticut primary.

Interestingly, Udall and Warner, along with other new Senators who won election this year, likely will be able to decide Lieberman’s fate. Reid has said the Senate Democratic Conference is likely to vote on whether Lieberman can retain the gavel when it meets for its regular luncheon next Tuesday.

Lieberman’s giving did not end with Democrats this cycle, of course. His leadership PAC gave $5,000 to McCain’s presidential bid and $10,000 to the re-election campaign of his close friend and ranking member on Homeland Security, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine).