- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2006

With congressional midterm elections three months away, the Democratic national fund-raising committees have established startling cash-on-hand advantages over their Republican counterparts as of June 30, according to a summary report issued last week by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which is run by Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as the party’s national fund-raising arm for House candidates, had $31.4 million in the bank (net of debt) on June 30. That was nearly $5 million more cash than the $26.5 million that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had in its coffers at midyear. Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which is run by senior New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, had $37.7 million in the bank on June 30. That sum was 90 percent greater than the $19.9 million in ready cash inside the coffers of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is run by North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Taken together, the two Democratic committees for the House and Senate had $69.1 million in cash at midyear, an amount nearly 50 percent greater than the $46.4 million in cash available to their Republican counterparts.

Among other highlights and insights that could be gleaned from the FEC’s report were these:

m Fortunately for Republicans, the Republican National Committee (RNC), which had $44.7 million in the bank on June 30, maintained a huge cash advantage over the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Under Howard Dean’s chairmanship, the DNC had a mere $10.8 million in the bank at midyear. Combining the June 30 cash reserves of the three national fund-raising committees for each party, the FEC report revealed that the Republican committees ($91.1 million) enjoyed an $11.2 million cash advantage over the three Democratic committees ($79.9 million). At this stage in the 2003-04 cycle — which featured a presidential contest, making direct comparisons somewhat difficult — the Republican cash advantage was more than $25 million.

m Compared to the first 18 months of the 2003-04 cycle, DNC fund-raising in the current cycle is down $34.9 million (28 percent), while RNC receipts have declined by $51.2 million (23 percent). In this cycle so far, the RNC has raised $168 million, $78 million more than the DNC’s $90 million. At this stage in the 2003-04 campaign, the RNC ($219 million) had a $94 million fund-raising advantage over the DNC ($125 million). Over the final six months of the previous cycle, however, the DNC raised a stunning $269 million, or $96 million more than the $173 million collected by the RNC over the same six-month period.

m The 18-month total receipts of the three Democratic committees ($240 million) are nearly $10 million (4 percent) above their total receipts for the first 18 months of the last cycle. GOP fund-raising over comparable 18-month periods is down more than $50 million (13 percent).

m Under Mrs. Dole, NRSC receipts have increased by 24 percent in this cycle compared to the last one. However, under Mr. Schumer, DSCC receipts have increased by 48 percent in this cycle. DSCC receipts through June totaled $73 million, 17 percent above the NRSC’s take so far. But Mrs. Dole has already spent 70 percent of her committee’s receipts, while the more frugal Mr. Schumer has spent less than 50 percent of the money he has raised. As a result, the DSCC had $18 million more in the bank on June 30 than the NRSC had. On June 30, 2004, by way of comparison, the GOP Senate fund-raising committee had a $6 million cash advantage over the Democratic committee. Today’s $18 million Democratic cash advantage reflects an average of $3 million for each of the six Senate seats that Democrats must gain in order to achieve majority status.

m During the entire 2003-2004 cycle, the NRCC, which collects money for GOP House candidates, raised $186 million. That was 100 percent more than the $93 million raised by its Democratic counterpart, the DCCC. With Democrats needing to gain 15 House seats to achieve majority status in November’s midterm elections, the NRCC almost certainly will not hold such a huge fund-raising advantage this time. Through June, for example, the NRCC’s 18-month fund-raising advantage was only $26 million. And while NRCC 18-month receipts ($103 million) were more than 10 percent below the previous cycle’s receipts, DCCC receipts through June ($76.6 million) were 37 percent above the receipts from the comparable period in the 2003-04 cycle.

m So far Mr. Emanuel of the DCCC has been far more successful extracting contributions from the individual campaigns of other Democrats than his Republican counterpart, New York Republican Tom Reynolds, who heads the NRCC. The FEC reports that about 20 percent of the DCCC’s total receipts through June came directly from Democratic House members’ campaigns. The team players include Mr. Emanuel ($470,000), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ($535,000), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer ($570,000), and Reps. James Clyburn ($385,000), Charlie Rangel ($370,000) and Barney Frank ($275,000). Even Sen. John Kerry contributed $500,000 to the DCCC. By contrast, the NRCC has so far raised only 8 percent of its total receipts from current and former House members. Two of the biggest contributors were former members: White House budget director Rob Portman ($500,000) and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox ($225,000). Through June, House Speaker Dennis Hastert gave $25,000, Majority Leader John Boehner donated $117,750 and Majority Whip Roy Blunt contributed $25,000.

m Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had about $22 million cash on hand at the end of June (which was 100 times more than either of her two Republican rivals) has contributed $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That was $125,000 less than what retiring Vermont “independent” Sen. Jim Jeffords gave to the DSCC.

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