POLITICS

The Notoriously Cheap Democratic Senate

On the cusp of winning a filibuster-proof 60 vote majority, Democratic Senators are hoarding their personal campaign chests, demonstrating more self interest than a willingness to share their money in order to gain firm control of the Senate.

While sitting on more than $100 million in donations and most facing no contest this year, the Senate's 51 Democrats have given the party's key Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DSCC -- headed by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this year -- $11.3 million, or just over $220,000 apiece on average. Some 21 members have contributed less than $100.

The DSCC's $11.3 million in receipts from all the Democratic Senators stand in contrast to the $18.6 million raised from the 51 top Democratic House donors to the Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) -- 64.6 percent more than from the same number of members of the upper chamber. The total raised from Democratic House members by the DCCC -- headed by Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) -- $38.8 million, is more than triple the amount raised by the DSCC from Senators.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who is not up for election until 2012 and who has $6.68 million cash on hand, gave a total of $115,000 to the DSCC. Indiana's Evan Bayh, who has $11.3 million on hand and is up in 2010, gave $15,000. Barbara Boxer who has an even $4 million in the bank in preparation for her re-election bid in 2010, donated $30,000.

In fact, if every Democratic Senator who is not up for re-election this year, or who is sure to win on November 4, gave just 10 percent of their cash-on-hand to the DSCC, it would total $10 million for the closing week -- a substantial sum for of television time in key target states.

Here are the figures (click here or on the image to see a larger graph):

2008-10-29-dsgraphsmall.jpg

The biggest donors to the DSCC this year are Senators up for re-election now, but who are safe. Illinois's Dick Durbin and Massachusetts' John Kerry kicked in just over $1 million each. Other relatively strong contributors who are currently running include Carl Levin of Michigan, $150,000; Tom Harkin of Iowa, $280,000; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, $805,000; Jack Reed of Rhode Island, $430,000; and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, $615,000.

Most of the senators were far more chintzy, no matter when they are up for re-election:

Patrick Leahy, Vt, $190,000.

Bob Casey, Pa., $92,000

Chris Dodd, Conn, $15,000.

Blanche Lincoln, Ark, $180,000.

Harry Reid, Majority Leader, Nev., $135,000.

Max Baucus, Mont., $615,000.

Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I., $43,500

Ben Nelson, Nebraska, $30,000.

Byron Dorgan, N. Dak., $180,000.

Kent Conrad, N. Dak., $330,000.

Patty Murray, Wash., $280,000.

Daniel Inouye, Hawaii, $305,000.

Herbert Kohl, Wisconsin, $57,000.

John D. Rockefeller, IV, W. Va., $805,000

Charles Schumer, N.Y., $30,000 (He Chaired the DSCC and can take some credit for its success this cycle)

Tim Johnson, S. Dak., $10,000.

Thomas Carper, Del., $455,000.

Debbie Stabenow, Mich., $90,000.

Sherrod Brown, Ohio, $230,000.

Dianne Feinstein, Calif., $557,000.

Jeff Bingaman, N. Mex., $300,000.

Joe Biden, Del, $280,000.

Barack Obama, Ill., $15,000.

Russ Feingold, Wisc., $150,000.

Edward Kennedy, Mass., $530,000.

Robert Menendez, N.J., $240,000.

Frank Lautenberg, N.J., $57,500.

Mary Landrieu, La., $30,000.

Tom Harkin, Iowa, $280,000.

Jim Webb, Va., $20,000.

Amy Klobuchar, Minn., $142,000.

Maria Cantwell, Wash., $60,000.

Ben Cardin, Md., $85,000.

Ron Wyden, Oregon, $140,000,

Joe Lieberman, Conn., $230,000.

Daniel Akaka, Hawaii, $55,000.

Mark Pryor, Ark, $615,000.

Jon Tester, Mont., $40,000.

Bob Casey, Pa., $60,000.

Claire McCaskill, Mo., $58,500

This compares to the top 51 House donors to the DCCC -- the two numbers listed with their names are the member's cash on hand (as of June 30, 2008) and the amount they have donated to the DCCC this cycle (as of October 14, 2008).

Pelosi, Nancy 455,138 -- 1,300,000 Hoyer, Steny 1,541,458 -- 1,100,000

Clyburn, Jim 1,377,745 -- 1,000,000

Emanuel, Rahm 1,768,292 -- 850,000

Larson, John 365,738 -- 465,000

Becerra, Xavier 548,423 -- 465,000

DeLauro, Rosa 223,303 -- 400,000 Miller, George 411,514 -- 500,000

Van Hollen, Chris 2,464,791 -- 550,000

Lewis, John 585,319 -- 300,000

Tanner, John 1,221,409 -- 300,000

Pastor, Ed 1,428,843 -- 300,000

Waters, Maxine 89,618 -- 100,000

DeGette, Diana 234,215 -- 300,000

Crowley, Joe 874,775 -- 325,000

Schakowsky, Jan 407,888 -- 300,000

Butterfield, GK 148,896 -- 300,000

Schultz, Debbie Wasserman 530,917 -- 375,000 Obey, David 1,007,564 -- 500,000

Dingell, John 1,475,576 -- 500,000

Frank, Barney 817,102 -- 650,000

Rangel, Charles 2,051,754 -- 1,000,000

Slaughter, Louise 545,739 -- 425,000

Berman, Howard 442,120 -- 250,000

Brady, Robert 473,070 -- 300,000

Conyers, John 326,146 -- 250,000

Filner, Bob 92,553 -- 214,294

Gordon, Bart 975,208 -- 250,000

Oberstar, James 846,959 -- 250,000 Peterson, Collin 522,078 -- 300,000

Rahall, Nick 1,367,721 -- 300,000

Reyes, Silvestre 57,085 -- 192,145

Skelton, Ike 538,095 -- 275,000

Spratt, John 686,155 -- 300,000

Thompson, Bennie 1,254,662 -- 250,000

Velazquez, Nydia 593,083 -- 250,000

Waxman, Henry 811,587 -- 350,000 Boucher, Rick 1,420,935 -- 250,000 Dicks, Norm 587,778 -- 300,000

Hastings, Alcee 255,401 -- 100,000

Kanjorski, Paul 2,174,387 -- 15,000

Levin, Sander 175,341 -- 250,000 Lowey, Nita 1,119,219 -- 250,000 Maloney, Carolyn 1,106,537 -- 275,000 Markey, Ed 2,612,640 -- 250,000

McDermott, Jim 51,287 -- 50,000

McGovern, Jim 303,872 -- 250,000 McNulty, Michael 91,721 -- 10,000

Mollohan, Alan 13,673 -- 250,000

Murtha, John 644,243 -- 250,000

Neal, Richard 1,878,842 -- 250,000 Pallone, Frank 3,388,195 -- 250,000

Price, David 285,088 -- 250,000

While Democrats in the House have been more generous to their campaign committee (DCCC) and their counterparts in the Senate have been to the Democratic Senatorial Committee, it would not have been too painful for every safe Democratic Congressman to tithe once again from the collective $136 million in their election accounts to give a $13.6 million boost towards building the party's majority in the lower Chamber.

Some 47 of the 206 Democrats who do not have difficult elections have over $1 million cash on hand. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, for example, has $3,394,421; Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, $3,124,070; Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, $2,754,414; Ed Markey of Massachusetts, $2,732,765; Steny Hoyer of Maryland, $2,505,898; and Lloyd Doggett of Texas, $2,536,119.

Some of these cash-rich Congressmen are likely thinking of running for Senator or Governor.

The whole list of safe members (26 others have re-election fights) and their cash on hand is here.