DNC Memo Flogs GOP Candidates on Donor Transparency

Posted July 22, 2011 at 1:33pm

Updated, 4:45 p.m.:

The Democratic National Committee is attempting to pressure Republican presidential candidates to disclose the names of their fundraising bundlers and to stop accepting donations from lobbyists and political action committees.

Roll Call got an early look at a memo set to be released Friday afternoon touting President Barack Obama’s efforts at transparency. The memo from DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard emphasizes that the president’s re-election campaign and the committee disclose more fundraising information than is required by law, while refusing to accept “special interest” cash.

Obama’s policy is to disclose the name of bundlers who raise $50,000 or more from other donors on behalf of the president.

The DNC memo makes a specific reference to the ongoing partisan battle over raising the debt ceiling, while insinuating that GOP candidates such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be beholden to their donors in such a fight.

But Congressional Democrats, who also will have to vote on debt ceiling legislation, do not as a blanket rule refuse donations from lobbyists and PACs, nor does the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“As we’re seeing in the current debate over how to address America’s fiscal challenges, special interests of all kinds are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to preserve their slice of our budgetary pie,” Gaspard wrote in the memo. “It is critical that voters know whether today’s Republican candidates are indebted to those special interests, or whether they would stand with the middle class — as President Obama is — to enact a balanced plan to get our deficit under control and lay the foundation for future prosperity.”

He said the “little information we do have” on the Republican contenders’ fundraising “suggests that special interests are cozying up to the current Republican candidates in the hopes of securing a president who is more sympathetic to their agenda.”

RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski used the opportunity to jab Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who serves as DNC chairwoman.

“It’s time for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to get off her soapbox, considering the DNC takes money from state lobbyists and Wasserman Schultz herself has taken money from PACs since becoming DNC chairwoman,” Kukowski said.

A DNC spokesman responded that Wasserman Schultz has not taken PAC funds since she began the job on May 4.