House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has blown away all competitors in the race to be the top congressional fundraiser, pulling down more than $52 million for Democratic candidates in 2012, or more than $120,000 for every congressional district, not including her own, according to a new investigative report.
In so-called “dues” and other contributions required of most House members, she topped every lawmaker of either party, making a joke of her $800,000 requirement leveled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
By comparison, Republican Speaker John Boehner met his $418,347 dues total for 2013, according to charts unearthed in the new book “Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets,” by Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute.
The book’s findings about how lawmakers spend money from their “leadership political action committees” on personal items and to hire family members on campaigns was featured on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. The New York Times best-seller’s last book was a blockbuster that studied how lawmakers use insider information to profit on Wall Street.
The dues setup in the House is not illegal, but little-reported on. Both parties expect their members, especially in the leadership, to raise money to help elect more of their own.
But the information and dues requirements Schweizer got from the DCCC and National Republican Congressional Committee — and provided to Secrets in advance of the Tuesday release of his book — shows that the Democrats require much more money from their members.
For example, the top “dues assessment” of GOP leaders this year is $200,000, and only Boehner and his two two lieutenants are required to cough that up — which they did. On the Democratic side, 113 members were required to raise that much for 2012, and the top assessment is $800,000 levied on Pelosi and her top deputy, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
Not all members raise enough to cover their dues, though several contributed more than required, like Pelosi.
Schweizer also provided the 2013-14 DCCC requirements, which pegs Pelosi’s dues at $800,000 and overall fundraising goal at $25 million. Her successes last year prove that she remains a top Democratic draw.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.