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Moveon.org Urges Safe Dems to Pony Up

With 15 days to go until the election, MoveOn.org is asking Democratic members of Congress to reach deep into their own pockets to fund campaign activities in the widening playing field of competitive races.

Seventy Democratic incumbents with a total of $50 million in their campaign accounts are the targets of the campaign, in which MoveOn members living in the districts of cash-rich lawmakers are urged to call on their representative and ask for a significant donation from his or her warchest to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Take Rep. Marty Meehan (Mass.), for example. At the end of September, Meehan had $4.89 million in his campaign account and no Republican opponent. "Chances are that when you call, Rep. Meehan's staffer will tell you, 'we already gave,'" reads the MoveOn e-mail. "We want to send a clear signal to safe House Democrats: Keeping 100 percent of excess funds gets them nothing if Democrats have 0% of the power in Washington."

The e-mail sent to Meehan's constituents also links to a Boston Globe story from over the weekend in which Meehan provides no clear rationale for why he hasn't donated more than his $125,000 in dues to the DCCC.

The real reason -- of course -- is that Meehan and several other Democratic House members from Massachusetts are sitting on their campaign warchests under the belief that Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) will make a second run for the presidency in 2008 and forego a race for a fifth Senate term. (Kerry, too, has come under criticism too for allegedly hoarding his campaign cash in order to use it as seed money for a 2008 bid. A Web site -- www.heyjohn.org -- has been created to urge the senator to cough up some of his cash.)

According to Political Moneyline -- by far the best money in politics site on the Web -- 23 Democratic lawmakers who face no serious opposition this fall have more than $1 million each in their campaign accounts. Meehan leads the way with $4.89 million on hand; fellow Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal has $2.36 million in the bank. New Jersey Reps. Frank Pallone ($2.3 million) and Rob Andrews ($2.1 million) also break the $2 million mark. Both Pallone and Andrews have expressed an interest in running for the Senate at some future date and would be able to transfer all of the funds in their House accounts to fund a Senate bid.

It's unlikely that even under pressure from MoveOn that these cash-rich members will make a significant (read: seven figure) donation to the DCCC. While winning back control of the House is certainly a goal for each and every House Democrat, they are still politicians at their root -- meaning they are looking out for themselves first, foremost and always.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 23, 2006; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic PACs , House  
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