Thursday, September 21, 2017

Want To See Democratic House Leadership Change? Leadership PACs Have A Role To Play


Doug Applegate, Ted Lieu, Randy Bryce

A couple of night ago I went to a LIEU-PAC event in Manhattan Beach with Randy Bryce. LIEU-PAC is Ted Lieu's leadership PAC, contributions to which go to candidates Lieu is trying to help elect to Congress (but not to himself). You can contribute to it here. Ted was elected regional vice chair of the DCCC by members of Congress from California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Hawaii and he's decided to stay neutral in the California races during primary season and then help the Democratic candidates in the general election. So far the only congressional candidate Ted has endorsed in the current cycle is Randy Bryce, the iron worker and union/veterans activist running against Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. Since he was in town... I brought him to the LIEU-PAC meet-up.

The activists who were there were very excited, not just having one of Congress' best members as their own congressman, but also getting to meet two of the most effective progressives against two congressional arch-villains, Paul Ryan and Darrell Issa. Yes, as you can see from the photo, Doug Applegate also came to the event. (Ted supports all California challengers to congressional Republicans and his events are open to any or all of them at any time. We were lucky that Doug decided this was the one to come to.) Ted spoke to the enthusiastic crowd about healthcare and about Putin-Gate and then introduced Randy and Doug and gave each of them a chance to speak to a very appreciative and supportive audience.

So what's the whole rationale behind a leadership PAC? For one thing, it helps do exactly what it says it does-- assist endorsed candidates to win elections. The other function is to help the PAC's principle build his or her own power and influence within the party. Needless to say, helping candidates raise money engenders loyalty. When members want to rise in the ranks of leadership, starting a leadership PAC is a first step. This week explained leadership PACs. "Politicians," they rote, "collect money for their own campaigns-- we all know that. But many of them also raise a separate pot of money, commonly called a leadership political action committee, to help other politicians. By making donations to members of their party, ambitious lawmakers can use their leadership PACs to gain clout among their colleagues and boost their bids for leadership posts or committee chairmanships. Politicians also use leadership PACs to lay the groundwork for their own campaigns for higher office. And some use their PACs to hire additional staff-- sometimes even their family members-- and to travel around the country or eat in some of Washington's finest restaurants. The limits on how a politician can spend leadership PAC money are not especially strict."

Based on FEC data reported by May 16 of this year, Open Secrets listed the currently active leadership PACs. Last cycle $49,017,853 was spent, 62% ($30,277,900) for Republicans and 38% ($18,729,253) for Democrats. There were 535 PACs that made contributions. These are the House leadership PACs that contributed the heaviest last cycle:
Kevin McCarthy (Majority Committee PAC)- $2,086,513
Paul Ryan (Prosperity Action)- $1,326,238
Steny Hoyer (AmeriPAC)- $1,114,399
Steve Scalise (Eye of the Tiger PAC)- $942,485
Mark Meadows (House Freedom Fund)- $702,535
Patrick McHenry (More Conservatives PAC)- $699,500
Jim Clyburn (BRIDGE PAC)- $647,500
Kevin Brady (Making America Prosperous)- $595,304
Joe Crowley (JOE PAC)- $568,500
Greg Walden (New Pioneers PAC)- $560,900
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (CMR PAC)- $547,199
Jeb Hensarling (JEB PAC)- $525,000
Pat Tiberi (Pioneer PAC)- $514,042
Nancy Pelosi (PAC to the Future)- $496,000
The numbers for 2017 and 2018 aren't available yet. Last year Hoyer was the biggest donor to Democratic challengers. He gave to 68 House challengers. His tendency is to give much more heavily to the Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and more perfunctorily to progressives. The only challengers who he gave over $10,000 each were:
LuAnn Bennett- $12,700
Terri Bonoff- $12,700
Angie Craig- $12,700
Charlie Crist- $12,700
Pete Gallego- $12,700
Josh Gottheimer- $12,700
Colleen Hanabusa- $12,000
Lon Johnson- $12,700
Raja Krishnamoorthi- $12,000
Jim Mowrer- $12,700
Stephanie Murphy- $12,700
Kim Myers- $12,700
Tom Nelson- $12,700
Tom O'Halleran- $12,700
Doug Owens- $22,200
Jacky Rosen- $12,700
Steve Santarsiero- $12,700
Brad Schneider- $12,700
Anna Throne-Holst- $12,700
Monica Vernon- $12,700
Shelli Yoder- $12,700
Those were all conservative candidates. What about progressives? He donated to some of them as well-- but much less money:
Doug Applegate- $5,000
Adriano Espaillat- $5,000
Duwayne Gregory- $5,000
Pramila Jayapal- $5,000
Ruben Kihuen- $5,000
Anil Kumar- $5,000
Don McEachin- $5,000
Jamie Raskin- $6,000
Annette Taddeo- $5,000
Zephyr Teachout- $10,000
Crowley had a similar pattern-- top dollars to conservative scum like Gottheimer and just a perfunctory contributions to actual progressives, like the grudging $1,000 to Applegate and $2,500 to Jayapal. Pelosi wasn't that different either-- top dollar to Blue Dogs like Gottheimer, O'Halleran, Lon Johsnon and Stephanie Murphy and much more modest contributions to progressives like Jayapal, Applegate and Teachout.

Wassermann Schultz has been very active in trying to bye friends as well. But last year, as she struggled with her own political survival after being caught cheating in the primaries in favor of Hillary and against Bernie and then fired from the DNC, she still gave out $1,459,022, down from $1,988,607 in the 2014 cycle. She also gave heavily to conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (like herself) and lightly to progressives-- nothing at all to Teachout or Jayapal and just $2,000 to Applegate.

Progressives have tended to not do much with leadership PACs. Mark Pocan (D-WI), a rising star, was an exception. His Blue Majority PAC raised $167,300 last cycle and he gave vaguely equal amounts to progressives and conservatives. Monica Vernon got $4,372 and he gave $4,000 each to Jamie Raskin and Susannah Randolph. He also contributed to progressive candidates that the party leaders tended to freeze out like Joseline Pena-Melnyk and Nanette Barragan. His efforts helped when he ran for chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He won and his now co-chair with Raul Grijalva. So... if you would like to see Ted Lieu continue to rise within the Democratic leadership-- so that when Pelosi retires the only choices to replace her aren't just corporate shills like Hoyer, Crowley and Wasserman Schultz, please consider contributing what you can to LIEU-PAC.

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At 1:47 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I'm no fan of PAC's but because it's Ted Lieu Anyone But Pelosi & Hoyer

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd not waste your money until you see whether Lieu gives ANYTHING to ratfuckers.
If he does, it means he's running for something higher in the party, and therefore is not worth supporting.

Rising upward in the ratfucker party means ratfucking people who vote for you. It would mean he's just a boilerplate ratfucker, but with a better act.

We'd all be better off just ditching the ratfucker party and forming a truly left party. Then we'd see if Lieu would burn his ratfucker card and join up... or not.

The ratfucker party will tend to make even good people into ratfuckers... just to keep their place and/or get ahead.

Put them in an altruist's party, and steer them toward altruism instead.


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