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DCCC Document Shows That Democrats Sell Committee Seats For $550,000, Chairmanships For $1.8M

Democratic leadership expects House members on certain committees to leverage corporate interests to fundraise higher amounts, an internal document from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows. Leadership also requires those members to fundraise and donate specific amounts to the party.

The chairmen of “exclusive committees” — four committees that banks and other industries target because they deal with money and regulation — are expected to fundraise from lobbyists and political action committees with interests before those jurisdictions and to pay $600,000 to the DCCC in “dues,” plus fundraise $1.2 million for the party, the document, obtained by the Intercept, shows.

The members are Reps. Nita Lowey of the Appropriations Committee, Richard Neal of the Ways and Means Committee, Frank Pallone of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Maxine Waters of the Financial Services Committee. The first three are on track to meet their dues goals, while Waters has not paid a dollar, according to the document.

The chairmen of 17 other committees that are not traditionally feted with corporate cash, meanwhile, are expected to pay $300,000 in dues plus $300,000 in party fundraising in exchange for the gavel.

Some subcommittees are the subject of corporate and interest-group lobbying that is at least as fierce as those entire committees. Twenty-three such subcommittee chairs are also asked to pay the same amount.

Meanwhile, four committees are the subject of so much big-money lobbying that even being a rank-and-file member on the committees comes with a fundraising expectation. Members of the committees on Ways and Means; Appropriations; Energy and Commerce; and Financial Services are expected to pay a quarter-million dollars each to the DCCC in dues, plus fundraise $300,000.

“Members of Congress who pay their dues and hit their targets are rewarded with better committee assignments in the future, and more favorable treatment of legislation they author, than members who shirk their dues. Members who don’t pay, for instance, are less likely to have their bills or amendments get a floor or committee vote,” the Intercept reported.

The document shows that the DCCC is having trouble raising cash even from its own Congress members. Only 11 members have paid their dues in full (the money is for the 2019-2020 election cycle, so it is not overdue, but is more useful to the party if received early). The four progressive freshmen in the “squad” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib — haven’t paid dues. They appear on the list because they were given committee assignments by leadership, but have engaged in high-profile skirmishes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi herself has raised a staggering $43 million, the document says.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said in 2009 that the money system discriminated against congressmen from poorer districts, so the party created a “points” system of non-monetary ways to help the party — but very few members had many points as of July.

The executive director of the DCCC, Allison Jaslow, resigned in July after Hispanic lawmakers said the committee needed to be run by a “person of color.”


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