NRCC Fundraising Surges, but Members Are Still in Arrears

Posted July 20, 2010 at 3:49pm

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) and Deputy Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) touted their fundraising success over the cycle on Tuesday, but Member dues sheets posted on a wall in the campaign committee’s building showed that there was still some work to be done.

According to the part of the giant dues sheet visible from the NRCC’s conference room, more than 60 members of the Conference have yet to pay even half of their NRCC assessment.

One House GOP aide noted that because the NRCC’s “Battleground” program launched just last month, it might be responsible for the number of Members who fell short of their fundraising goals.

Each Member has been asked to raise a certain amount of money for the program based on several factors, including the Member’s vulnerability.

Individual assessments, or goals, for rank-and-file lawmakers range from $100,000 to $150,000 and from $200,000 to $400,000 for committee ranking members and senior party leaders.

Thirteen ranking members or members of leadership were among those who had yet to pay their full assessment to the campaign committee. Their names appeared in bold letters on the list.

The NRCC declined to confirm whether the numbers listed on the sheet represented the most current fundraising data.

Among those in deep debt to the NRCC: House Administration ranking member Dan Lungren (Calif.) had paid 21 percent of his assessment, Homeland Security ranking member Peter King (N.Y.) had paid 20 percent, Veterans’ Affairs ranking member Steve Buyer (Ind.) had given 14 percent, Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) had given 6 percent, Energy Independence and Global Warming ranking member Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) had given 3 percent and Intelligence ranking member Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) had also given 3 percent.

Buyer and Hoekstra announced earlier this cycle that they would retire at the end of the 111th Congress. Hoekstra is running for governor of Michigan.

Other leaders who had yet to pay their assessments in full according to the partial list that was visible included Foreign Affairs ranking member Ileana Ros Lehtinen (Fla.), Small Business ranking member Sam Graves (Mo.), Rules ranking member David Dreier (Calif.), Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers (Wash.), ethics ranking member Jo Bonner (Ala.), Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith (Texas) and Natural Resources ranking member Doc Hastings (Wash.).

But despite the difficulty extracting money from Members, the NRCC has seen an uptick in fundraising in the last six months.

Sessions told reporters on Tuesday that the second quarter was the best the NRCC had in five years and that the committee finished June with $17 million in cash on hand after raising $9 million in June.

Republicans are not alone in their inability to pry money away from their Members. Democrats launched a major fundraising pitch on June 30 in order to spur their rank and file to open up their coffers to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Each party counts on direct transfers from lawmakers’ campaign accounts to raise much of their funds.

The DCCC reported Tuesday that it raised $9 million in June and finished the month with $33.8 million in the bank.