There was good news for Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) this election cycle: After barely holding his seat in 2010, he won reelection this time with more than 60 percent of the vote. And he did so with plenty of cash to spare in his campaign account.
Now the bad news: Some of his fellow Democrats noticed.
Both Republicans and Democrats ask their lawmakers to pay “dues” to their respective party committees, with the requested amounts on a sliding scale determined by a member’s seniority and committee assignment. For Connolly, that means the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee asked him to pony up $150,000 this election.
But according to a Democratic source who saw the DCCC dues sheet circulated to all lawmakers this month, Connolly only gave $25,000 in dues, even though he had $1.3 million sitting in the bank as of mid-October.
Democratic leaders and their aides frequently grumble about the lawmakers who don’t pay their full dues — particularly those who are not in competitive races themselves — since the DCCC always can use more cash and typically takes out loans late in each election cycle.
Of course, committee dues aren’t the only way a lawmaker can help his or her party. Connolly spokesman George Burke noted that Connolly had also raised $40,000 from outside donors for the DCCC, and Connolly’s Commonwealth PAC gave $25,000 to the party’s most important candidates.
By contrast, neighboring Rep. James P. Moran Jr. paid his full requested dues — $250,000 — to the DCCC while also raising more than $400,000 for the committee.