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November Party Committee Fundraising Roundup

by: DavidNYC

Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 5:30 PM EST


Money can't buy me love. Here are the November fundraising numbers for the six major party committees (October numbers are here):

Committee November
Receipts
November
Spent
Cash-on-Hand CoH Change Debt
DCCC $3,645,574 $2,811,095 $15,351,967 $834,479 $2,666,667
NRCC $2,338,780 $2,159,246 $4,347,956 $179,534 $2,000,000
DSCC $3,000,000 $2,500,000 $11,900,000 $600,000 $1,700,000
NRSC $3,300,000 $1,800,000 $7,300,000 $1,400,000 $0
DNC $5,940,797 $5,604,673 $13,187,247 $231,962 $4,933,454
RNC $6,381,864 $8,924,939 $8,749,092 ($2,543,075) $0

We've added a new column to the chart, "CoH Change." This just shows how much each committee's cash-on-hand moved from the prior month, whether positive or negative. As you can see, the RNC spent a ton.

DavidNYC :: November Party Committee Fundraising Roundup
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I've always wondered
Why don't the committees with tons of CoH pay down their debt immediately? Is it some sort of credit issue?

Debt and RNC
I've also wondered that along with why the RNC continues to outraise the DNC while the DSCC and DCCC out raise the GOP's versions 99% of the time  

17, Gay Male, Democrat, NJ-8  

[ Parent ]
Republicans have a lot of donors

who want/need favor with the national GOP as a whole- CEOs and interest PACs.  They don't want to dealing with rivalries or inquisitions inside the GOP and they certainly don't want to fund any diversity of opinion on their specific interests.

The RNC is also essentially the reservoir of Presidential campaign machinery and experts of the GOP between actual Presidential campaigns.  Typical GOP (and GOP donor) policy interests also tend to lie very much in what the Executive Branch chooses to enforce or not enforce in the way of laws/regulations, contracting by federal agencies (e.g. the armed forces), obscure federal bureaucratic decisions, putting in favorable candidates as judges and to head federal agencies, etc.

Democrats and Democratic donors tend to be more interested in the framework of governance, i.e. in getting the just and proper arrangement of laws and putting in dutiful people of sufficiently noble stature to enforce them, and keeping it all coherent with the Constitution.  Republicans and Republican donors want prearranged specific outcomes, not caring much about proper procedure but intent on keeping the subsequent punishment or fallout minimal (zero, hopefully).


[ Parent ]
thanks
thanks :D  

17, Gay Male, Democrat, NJ-8  

[ Parent ]
Why would they?
I don't understand this view at all. The purpose of taking on debt is so that you can spend more money than you actually have at the present time. As long as your creditors aren't demanding repayment and the interest rates aren't unduly burdensome, then you most definitely do NOT want to pay off your debt any sooner than you have to.

Yes, there are some carry costs to any debt, but those are wildly outeighed by the fact that you have a hugely increased purse. I mean, if the DNC paid down all its debt right now, the only effect would be to severely limit its cash-on-hand. They might save a little money in terms of interest they'd otherwise pay, but so what - they'll always be able to afford those interest payments. But instead, they have almost five million more to spend now.

Put another way: Not many people could afford to buy a home without a loan. Loans increase your spending power.


[ Parent ]
thanks
thanks that makes total sense. I just thought that interest would just crush them in the long term but I guess if the rate is not high then they can afford it.  

17, Gay Male, Democrat, NJ-8  

[ Parent ]
I'm not really sure
What the DNC's interest payments look like. For one, some of their debt might just be outstanding invoices to vendors, which may not carry any interest rates. (Though many vendors in many walks of life will charge 1.5%/month for bills unpaid past 30 days.) Some might be outstanding payments to people who just have to suck it up, or have agreed to suck it up - kind of like Hillary Clinton's debt to Mark Penn.

And some are probably bank loans. I doubt (or at least, I sincerely hope) that the DNC doesn't have any "exotic" loans of the sort that led to the great crisis. And with interest rates at all-time lows, plus the fact that the DNC has a pretty clear ability to keep raising money (I mean, the president is a Dem), I'd expect their interest payments aren't too bad at all.

Also, I've never delved into their FEC reports on the debt ledger in any great detail. But it's very possible that they pay some vendors each month but take on new debt from other vendors (or just pay off old bills with the same vendor and get credit on something new). So the overall amount might not get lower, but the debt, such as it is, keeps getting repaid.


[ Parent ]
A couple of factors
First, these numbers are nothing more than a snapshot (i.e. the 30th of the month).  Most corporations will have outstanding money owed to outside vendors (could be an outstanding invoice or it could be for services rendered but which the committee has not received an invoice).

Second, some of the debt may not be "due in 30 days" or "due upon receipt".  Some of the debt could have been on special terms for which it is due for an extended period of time.

From a pure financial point of view, the best thing to look at is "Working Capital".  Take cash on hand and subtract debt outstanding.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04


[ Parent ]
I don't see
Why "working capital" is especially relevant here. The DNC et al. could spend almost their entire kitty next month and probably be fine the month after, since they'll always keep taking in new money. Indeed, if you look at the terms of the loan they took out in 2008, half the collateral was assets, but the other half was future expected receipts.

[ Parent ]
Good question
"Working Capital" can (a) minimize the amount of the loan taken and (b) reduce interest costs incurred.  My mindset goes back to 20+ years ago (maybe longer) when the DNC had trouble paying back loans.  But your point is valid because cash flow hasn't been a problem for a while and because interest rates are pretty low.  If we were in the 1970's, we would all be whistling a different tune.  Not so today.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
You raise a good point
Dems are pretty fortunate that we're in an era where we've learned how to raise money quite well (and can actually do so). Indeed, when McCain-Feingold passed, many thought Dems would be in a lot of trouble because of our heavy reliance on soft money. Hasn't really been a problem, though.

Of course, as you point out, further back in the past, we often did have serious financial problems. In fact, in Nixonland, Rick Perlstein recounts how in 1968, HHH essentially ran out of money toward the end of the campaign, at a point where he otherwise seemed to be gaining momentum. Given how close the race was, it's not impossible to imagine that we truly would have seen the last of Dick Nixon had Humphrey managed to scrounge up a few million bucks more.


[ Parent ]
I would be surprised if the committees
didn't get sweetheart deals from the banks on their revolving credit agreements.  

[ Parent ]
This can't be right
Can it? A zero percent interest rate loan?

[ Parent ]
It might be well worth it for the banks
I mean $10M is chump change.  I'll bet the Republicans get the same deal, so it's in no one's interest to campaign on this.

There's also a non-horse-race-element to this. . .


[ Parent ]
What, cheap loans to curry political favor?
Somehow I doubt that's legal. And even if it is, Chris Dodd can tell you how good an idea that is.

Anyhow, here's the answer. The stupid FEC software can't handle interest rates if it's, say, LIBOR+. Check out the NRCC's loan:

Amount of Loan = 8000000.00
Interest Rate = 0.0000
Date Incurred = 10/03/2008
Date Due = 12/31/2009

...

MEMO NOTE ON INTEREST: INTEREST RATE IS LIBOR + 1.995%. SOFTWARE DOES NOT SUPPORT TEXT IN THE FIELD



[ Parent ]
That is what I meant. As to the legality, I dunno. Dodd
is obviously the example of why it's a bad idea.

As to the apparent real reason, gee, that is pretty stupid.  


[ Parent ]
At least on the NRCC loan info
They put that information in an unstructured text field. There's nothing like that for the original DNC loan.

[ Parent ]
LIBOR +2%
I'm not sure it's exactly a "cheap loan". I mean, it is because interest rates are super low. LIBOR's around .25%, so this loan would be around 2.25%, which is pretty darn cheap. But it doesn't seem OMG cheap, considering these are big, rich powerful organizations with excellent credit ratings. And it would make sense why they'd keep some debt on hand, since they ain't payin' much.

Wouldn't loans have to be covered by some sort of basic campaign finance law? Someone has to have thought of this before...I mean, they'd have to allow loans to campaign committees and such because of the capitalism. But they'd probably get them at some sort of mandated rate....maybe?

So after some research, here's an interesting LA Times article: http://articles.latimes.com/20...

Apparently, California Democrat Grace Napolitano (CA-38) is totally sketchy, if not outright corrupt. But here's the relevant part to this discussion:

FEC rulings have given candidates the latitude to charge a "commercially reasonable rate" of interest for personal loans to campaign committees, said commission spokeswoman Judith Ingram. Lawmakers aren't allowed to convert campaign funds to personal use, but laws governing the subject are arcane, Ingram said. "You have to look carefully at the regulations and see when and if that's taken place," she said.

I would guess the phrase "commercially reasonable rate" would show up in regulations governing loans to the national campaign committees, too. It would be interesting to know who they got these loans from....

Also! Napolitano's apparently chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus?!? Um, not good, especially when the caucus is about to put itself under major scrutiny with immigration reform proposals.  

Kansan by birth, Californian by choice, and Gay by the grace of God.


[ Parent ]
"commercially reasonable" could include
buying off a Congressman. Not that I'm suggesting that's happening.  

[ Parent ]
It is possible, but its mostly a gimmick
The interest is actually factored into the negotiations by the vendor.  The vendor might say "pay me in 90 days, no interest included", but the truth of the matter is that they have already bumped up the negotiating price to properly reflect the interest that they could have otherwise charged.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
That's a bank loan
That I linked to, not something from a vendor.

[ Parent ]
Your right
my bad.

I have no idea about this one.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04


[ Parent ]
Loans don't always increase spending power
They can increase spending obviously, but not power.

This is clear in the housing comparison.  There are several tipping points on borrowing.  It's dumb to borrow $1000 if you have $100,000 (unless each dollar in the 100k is earning a return greater than the interest being paid on the 1k), and it's dumb to borrow $100,000 if you have $1000.

It's only where your assets and your debts are in the same ballpark that having debt makes sense, but then only if the debt leads to generation of more assets, or if... like in politics there is a timing issue, you should go in debt the week before an election, but you should be paying down debt rather than wasting assets on interest the weeks after an election.


[ Parent ]
I'm a little worried about the DSCC
Menendez doesn't seem to be the powerhouse that Schumer was. Of course, it's not clear that Schumer could be the same powerhouse he was before in this economy.  

it can't be easy raising money for the DSCC
when the media keeps reporting on one capitulation by Senate Dems after another. I am impressed they're doing as well as they are, given the declining support for health care reform among the Democratic base.

[ Parent ]
Menendez
I honestly don't even think Schumer could have done better this cycle than he did in 06 and 08. After large victories in both winning seats and raising money, we should expect to have a tougher time doing so this cycle. But I believe Menendez is doing a great job replacing Schumer as DSCC chair. 2010 should be a great year for us, winning seats in NH (Hodes), Missouri (Carnahan), Ohio (Brunner or Fisher), and possibly Kentucky (COnaway or Mongiardo), North Carolina(CUnningham or Marshall), and FLorida (Meek). It's the house we have to worry about losing possibly 20 seats but Im sure we'll come out even in the end.  

17, Gay Male, Democrat, NJ-8  

[ Parent ]
that's very optimistic
I think we'll win only one of two of the seats you mention. We could easily lose NV and CT (if Dodd doesn't retire).

[ Parent ]
I'd say three
I think we'll win New Hampshire, Missouri, and probably Ohio. Kentucky could be there in a good year, but we aren't taking Florida or North Carolina unless the dynamics of those races shift considerably.

I wish we'd get Dodd to retire. I hate it when politicians don't want to take one for the team.

And I could really care less about Reid, to be quite honest.


Some Dude, 19, Democrat, NH-02 (residence), MA-08 (college)


[ Parent ]
I think North Carolina's a sleeper race
Burr's numbers are actually pretty bad for an incumbent (which is why I'm pretty surprised that they haven't been able to get a top-tier person like Cooper to run).

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


[ Parent ]
Yes, VERY optimistic
For whatever it's worth, this guy's evaluation of the state of the Senate races is shockingly negative, from a Democratic standpoint:

If the election were held today, I believe the most likely outcome would be a Republican gain of about 5 or 6 seats. Depending on the way Toss Up seats fell, the Republicans could no gain or a gain of up to 9 seats.

You're probably wondering: "Who the hell are they?" Their predictions for the 2008 races were pretty good, though.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  


[ Parent ]
I'm sorry Pan
But I don't see the GOP picking up six or even nine seats. I don't see blue states replacing their Senators with RWers like Mark Kirk and Kelly Ayotte. Sorry but I don't see it happening, regardless of what they said last year on the 2008 predictions.

[ Parent ]
Don't be sorry
I was surprised to read that, too. But it's really not a prediction; it's their take on the current state of the race. I hope the Democrats will be more popular by the time Election Day rolls around, and I also don't expect the Democrats to lose that many seats. I actually still hope for gains, though that looks unlikely at the moment.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  


[ Parent ]
The DCCC
is just burying the NRCC.

Over 3-to-1
I really hope this helps the House Dems pull through 2010

[ Parent ]
I like the new column
in the chart.

I am too technologically challenged to ever get charts to look right in soapblox.


Thanks
And, it's really easy - I just build my charts in Excel, then copy and paste into this tool:

http://www.bagism.com/tablemaker/


[ Parent ]
thanks
I will try that.

[ Parent ]
Hey, that's great
Thanks.

[ Parent ]
Total D vs. Total R
I'd like to see "Total D" and "Total R" rows at the bottom of the table.  The reason is that the DNC/RNC money is pretty fungible as between Senate and House races; what mostly matters in the end is how much total the two sides have to work with.

So here's what the "total D" and "total R" rows would look like this month (I think):

D vs R November Receipts November Spent Cash-on-Hand CoH Change Debt
Total D $12,586,371 $10,915,768 $40,439,214 $1,666,441 $9,300,121
Total R $12,020,644 $12,884,185 $20,397,048 ($963,541) $2,000,000

note: I used your quick table-making trick - thanks!


Factoring in the debt, about a $12M advantage
for the Dems. Not huge. . .

[ Parent ]
What was the equivalent in December 2005?
I'd say $12m is more than impressive.

[ Parent ]
$12 Million advantage is pretty substantial
If the DCCC keeps crushing the NRCC the Dems could see a 2:1 advantage on the GOP.  Right not it is rougly 31 million to 18 million, granted we have 41 more seats to protect.  However the likely pickups in the D column for the House may not require much spending, LA-02, DE-AL and IL-10.  Plus the GOP doesn't seem too wise in the way they spend their money, I forget how much they spent on NY-23 but I recall it was quite a bit.

I think the Senate will be of much greater consequence than the House.


[ Parent ]
Correction
"Right now it is"*

[ Parent ]
If the House disparity remains
It means the DNC can concentrate on senate races.

[ Parent ]

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