Monday, February 06, 2006

Why Hooley Hasn't Paid Her DCCC Dues

This story in search of a scandal surfaced 2 weeks ago (Roll Call--subs. reqd):
Democratic House Members anted up more than $11 million in dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005, but there remain 21 Caucus members who have not contributed a dime in the 2006 cycle and 13 others who have given less than 10 percent of what the DCCC is seeking from them.

While the numbers suggest that Democrats are making progress toward compliance, they are still $20 million short of the $32.1 million they would reap if every member meets his or her obligations.


In addition to Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the DCCC’s chairman, just four of the 201 Democrats have paid in full: Reps. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), Bill Delahunt (Mass.) and Tom Udall (N.M.). (Emphasis added.)

DavidNYC at Swing State Project picked up on the item and helpfully reprinted a sample of Democratic Congresspeople who had yet to submit dues to the congressional campaign committee for the 2006 election cycle. One of those 'deadbeats' was Oregon's Darlene Hooley, who represents lower Clackamas County and points westward to the ocean--she's paid nothing at all! At the time this story was printed Hooley was listed with a cash-on-hand balance of almost $550K, so relatively speaking, it might have been theorized that she could at least afford to pony up SOMETHING to start the campaign season off right. Since publication, the end-of-year statements have come out, and Hooley now sits with about $650 in the bank.

The best thing to do before going off half-cocked with an accusation such as this, is to go to the source and ask what the deal is. I talked to Hooley for Congress spokesperson Joan Mooney, who politely explained the situation. The D-Trip fund in question is primarily designed to help the most vulnerable incumbents stave off GOP challenges. In the 2004 cycle, Hooley's was considered one of the top dozen most vulnerable seats for Dems, being challenged by self-financed Lake Oswegite Jim Zupancic. Since the money collected generally goes right back out to the vulnerable districts, according to Mooney the D-Trip doesn't expect those members to kick in with the rest. Indeed, Hooley did not contribute to the fund in 2004 (although she did raise money for it during the cycle).

For 2006, at this stage Hooley is still considered vulnerable if a strong challenger files. (Zupancic has said he may run again, Mooney said, but so far he has not, and he only has until March 7 to do so). However, they have dropped her just out of the "top dozen"--Mooney believes they have Hooley's seat rated 13th. So figuring that her job is still to hold onto the seat for herself and worry about others later, the campaign is not planning on forwarding any monies to the D-Trip fund this year--and according to Mooney, that's fine with the national party.

Having verified this, I see in comments to the Swing State article that someone else has stood up for Darlene on the matter. So let's consider that one settled, shall we?