"Mass. delegation sends $3.1m in donations to aid other candidates; Move part of bid to bolster majority in Congress" by Jenny Paul, Globe Correspondent | October 31, 2008
WASHINGTON - Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, facing little opposition in their own races, handed over more than $3.1 million of the funds they raised to support other Democrats across the nation, according to the campaigns.
The giving is part of a push by the Democratic leadership to pick up seats in swing districts and bolster the party's majority in the House of Representatives during a federal election that analysts estimate will cost $5.3 billion, making it the most expensive election in US history.
Massachusetts incumbents and other high-ranking Democrats whose seats are considered "safe" by the party are expected to raise money and pass it along to Democrats in tight races. With a slew of GOP retirements and a bad economy that is favoring Democratic contenders, political analysts believe Democrats can add 25 to 30 seats to the majority they achieved after the 2006 midterm elections.
Donating to other Democrats can help the givers rise through the ranks of congressional leadership and retain positions they already hold, said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
"Anytime a politician gives to another politician, it's a way for the giver to build good will with that candidate and potentially get the favor repaid down the line," Ritsch said. But campaign finance specialists say the practice can mislead the original donors, who often aren't aware that their money will be used to help other candidates.
That's what politicians do best!! MISLEAD PEOPLE!
"This isn't where the contributors have intended the money to go," said Craig Holman, campaign finance lobbyist for Public Citizen, a government watchdog group. "If you give money to support one particular candidate in Massachusetts because you like that candidate, who knows where that money is going and supporting?"
Massachusetts congressmen said the contributions are key to enlarging their party's majority and allowing Democrats to set the agenda on issues that matter to their constituents, including healthcare, education, and job creation.
"We're a political family," said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Malden. "We have to help those who can strengthen our party's ability to advance a progressive agenda, and that's how I view the contributions that I make."
Check out how much $$$ these guys are tossing around:
The Massachusetts delegation has contributed more than $426,000 to individual candidates, including Carol Shea-Porter, a freshman New Hampshire representative, and Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat vying for the seat of embattled incumbent Christopher Shays.
Democrap, Repuglican, what's the diff? Vote THIRD PARTY, America!!!!
But the bulk of the money - more than $2.6 million - has gone to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a national fund-raising committee that helps at-risk candidates. Federal law prohibits members' campaign committees from giving more than $4,600 per election cycle directly to other candidates, but members can make unlimited contributions to the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees. The party committees use the money to help candidates in tough races.
"I give to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as much money as I can because I think they're in the best position to make the strategic decisions to defeat as many Republicans as possible," Markey said.
Markey contributed $349,625 to the committee during this cycle, topped only by the $650,000 contribution from Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Frank has given about $925,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations, almost as much as the $985,000 he has spent on his campaign.
No thought of RETURNING that money?
No, that never penetrates the looting legislators minds, does it?
Current practice calls for Frank, as a committee chairman, to contribute at least $500,000 to other candidates. Representative Richard Neal, Democrat of Springfield, and Representative James P. McGovern, Democrat of Worcester, are expected to contribute $250,000 each. Neal has given $300,000 during this election cycle, while McGovern donated an extra $10,000, according to campaign finance filings and data provided by the campaigns. --more--"
Would any of that campaign cash help you pay off a mortgage, Amurka?