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- February 27, 2014

As The DNC Kicks Off Its Winter Meeting, Democrats Are Frustrated As Obama's Advocacy Group Soaks Up The Cash

Today, The DNC Kicks Off Its Winter Meeting. "President Obama will address the Democratic National Committee at its annual winter meeting on Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C. The DNC made the announcement on Thursday. Obama's remarks are scheduled for the meeting's general session during the conference, which is set for Feb. 27 and 28."(Rebecca Shabad, "Obama To Address DNC Winter Meeting Feb. 28," The Hill, 2/13/14)

OBAMA'S ADVOCACY GROUP IS KEEPING ITS WALLET CLOSED AS THE DNC STRUGGLES TO STAY AFLOAT

Obama's Advocacy Group Formed On The Promise To "Sell The President's Agenda Across The Country," But Now "Democrats Are Asking: Where's The Juice?" "Barack Obama's campaign spun off into its own mega-grass-roots political group last year, striking fear into the hearts of conservative groups with promises to sell the president's agenda across the country. But now, heading into midterm election season, Democrats are asking: Where's the juice?" (Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti, "Democrats Complain Organizing For Action Is MIA," Politico, 2/25/14)

"OFA Raised $26 Million Last Year, But Officials Say They Aren't Planning To Unleash Any Of That Cash To Help Democratic Candidates Buy TV Ads." (Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti, "Democrats Complain Organizing For Action Is MIA," Politico, 2/25/14)

Some Democrats Are "Concerned That OFA Is Hurting the Party's Chances Of Holding The Senate By Taking Away Money From Other Outside Groups, While Having Little Impact." "Some Democratic strategists point to that as the exact reason why OFA is needed. They are concerned that OFA is hurting the party's chances of holding the Senate by taking money away from other outside groups, while having little impact. If the Democrats lose their majority in the Senate, OFA's work in pushing for Obama's agenda will be pointless anyway." (Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti, "Democrats Complain Organizing For Action Is MIA," Politico, 2/25/14)

  • "'They Are Certainly Attracting A Lot Of Big Donors. But If I Were One Those Donors, I Would Be Asking What They've Done With My Money?,' Said One Strategist." (Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti, "Democrats Complain Organizing For Action Is MIA," Politico, 2/25/14)

The DNC Started 2014 Just Like They Ended 2013: In Debt And Behind In Fundraising

"The Republican National Committee Outraised The Democratic National Committee In January And Continues To Have A Sizeable Financial Advantage Heading Into The 2014 Election." (Aaron Blake, "RNC Outraises DNC, As DNC Debt Increases," The Washington Post, 2/21/13)

  • "The Republican National Committee Raised $7.8 Million In January, Keeping Up Its Strong Fundraising Pace In The First Month Of The 2014 Election Year." (Cameron Joseph, "RNC Keeps Up Strong Fundraising Pace," The Hill, 2/20/14)

     
  • "The RNC Has $9.8 Million Cash On Hand, As Compared To The DNC's $5.7 Million. The DNC Is Also Continuing To Carry A Lot Of Debt -- $15.9 Million -- Leftover From The 2012 Election Cycle." (Aaron Blake, "RNC Outraises DNC, As DNC Debt Increases," The Washington Post, 2/21/13)

"The DNC Has Actually Seen Its Debt Increase Slightly Each Of The Past Three Months -- A Time When It Should Be Paying Down Debt." "The DNC has actually seen its debt increase slightly each of the past three months -- a time when it should be paying down debt. At the start of the year, it was $15.6 million in debt. Over the past 12 months, the DNC has paid down less than $5 million of the more than $20 million in debt that it began 2013 with. The RNC has no debt." (Aaron Blake, "RNC Outraises DNC, As DNC Debt Increases," The Washington Post, 2/21/13)

"The DNC Has Struggled With Fundraising In The Past Year." "The DNC has struggled with fundraising in the past year, and had $4.7 million in the bank and $15.6 million in debt as of the end of December." (Cameron Joseph, "RNC Keeps Up Strong Fundraising Pace," The Hill, 2/20/14)

The DNC Is "The Democrats' Weak Point" And "Unlikely To Be Much Help To Down-Ballot Candidates During The 2014 Cycle." "The Democrats' weak point is the Democratic National Committee. With $15.6 million in debt left from 2012, the party's flagship committee is unlikely to be much help to down-ballot candidates during the 2014 cycle. Saddled with the debt burden from Obama's successful reelection campaign, the DNC managed to shrink its liabilities only by $5.4 million during the entirety of 2013." (Byron Tau and Tarini Parti, "The Democrats' Well-Oiled Money Machine," Politico, 2/1/14)

LOOKS LIKE THE EARLY WARNING SIGNS WERE CORRECT: OFA WILL "MARGINALIZE" THE DNC

For The DNC, The "Competition For Fundraising" With The OFA Has Some State Party Officials Worried." "Financing: The Democratic National Committee is nearly $22 million in debt, largely the result of a $15 million loan due next June taken shortly after the Democratic Convention last year. The borrowing isn't unprecedented - the party took out a $15 million loan during the 2010 cycle as well - but the competition for fundraising with the new Obama organization has some state party officials worried." (Zeke Miller, "Democrats New Serve Two Masters: DNC And Organizing For Action,"TIME, 4/1/13)

  • "And It Has No Plans To Coordinate Efforts, Leading Some Democrats To Worry That It Will Take Money And Manpower Away From The Party As It Heads Into The 2014 Elections For Control Of Congress." (Anita Kumar, "Democrats Fear Obama Group Will Siphon Money From Them," McClatchy Newspapers, 4/1/13)

"President Barack Obama's Decision To Launch His Own Political Organization Has Some Democrats Wondering: Is He Just In It For Himself?" "President Barack Obama's decision to launch his own political organization has some Democrats wondering: Is he just in it for himself? Obama's new group, Organizing for Action, will focus on his policy agenda - not on electing Democratic candidates - by raising unlimited amounts of cash and accessing the president's secret list of 20 million supporters, volunteers and donors." (Anita Kumar, "Democrats Fear Obama Group Will Siphon Money From Them," McClatchy Newspapers, 4/1/13)

  • "'There's Only So Much Money To Go Around In Democratic Circles. There's A Limited Pool Of Resources,' Said Gilda Cobb Hunter, A South Carolina Legislator And A Member Of The Democratic National Committee. 'Why Can't We Strengthen One Entity?'" (Anita Kumar, "Democrats Fear Obama Group Will Siphon Money From Them," McClatchy Newspapers, 4/1/13)
  • The Formation Of OFA "Prompted Some Democrats To Accuse Obama Of Focusing More On His Legacy And Less On His Party." "The decision to create Organizing for Action separate from the DNC, where a similar group was housed after the 2008 election, has prompted some Democrats to accuse Obama of focusing more on his legacy and less on his party." (Anita Kumar, "Democrats Fear Obama Group Will Siphon Money From Them," McClatchy Newspapers, 4/1/13)

A Democrat Consultant Said Contributors Who Are Choosing Between Groups To Donate To Would Donate To OFA "Because Of The President's Connection." "A Democratic consultant who's worked on campaigns across the nation said contributors who faced a choice would donate to Organizing for Action rather than to another Democratic campaign group because of the president's connection. 'If you are a donor, which do you go to?' he asked, also speaking only on the condition of anonymity lest he alienate fellow Democrats." (Anita Kumar, "Democrats Fear Obama Group Will Siphon Money From Them," McClatchy Newspapers, 4/1/13)

Some Key Democrats Were Worried That Organizing For Action Would "Marginalize The Traditional Party Apparatus, Cannibalizing Dollars And Volunteers." "Some key Democrats worry that President Obama's new Organizing for Action group will marginalize the traditional party apparatus, cannibalizing dollars and volunteers while making it harder to elect down-ballot candidates." (James Hohmann, "Dem Officials Fret Over New Obama Nonprofit," Politico, 1/23/13)

Pennsylvania Democrat Party Chairman Jim Burns On Organizing For Action: "If They Don't Engage With Us Will Be Stepping On A Lot Of Land Mines." "'We speak Pennsylvania,' said the Pennsylvania Democratic party chairman Jim Burns, 'so if you come into Montgomery County and set up shop, you better talk to the party chairman there before you start walking in his backyard. If they don't engage with us they will be stepping on a lot of land mines.'" (Beth Reinhard, "Democrats Grumbling About Obama Lobbying Shop," National Journal, 1/23/13)

Virginia Democrat Party Vice Chairman Fred Hudson: "We Need A Unified Organization That Will Bring About Victories In 2013 And 2014, And We Don't Need To Be Splitting Our Efforts." "Fred Hudson, vice chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, said OFA would inevitably weaken the traditional party structure. 'We need a unified organization that will bring about victories in 2013 and 2014, and we don't need to be splitting our efforts,' said Hudson, alluding to his state's high-stakes race for governor this year."(Beth Reinhard, "Democrats Grumbling About Obama Lobbying Shop," National Journal, 1/23/13)

  • Hudson: "It's A Recipe For How To Lose An Election. We've Been Told There Will Be No Competition For Fundraising, But That's Difficult For Me To Accept, And There Will Certainly Be Competition For Staff And Volunteers." (Beth Reinhard, "Democrats Grumbling About Obama Lobbying Shop," National Journal, 1/23/13)

Democrat State Party Chairman: "Essentially, It's An End Run Around The DNC And State Parties." "Other Democratic leaders huddling at the Omni Shoreham Hotel would not go so far on the record the day after the president's inauguration, but they view the post-election shuffle with just as much apprehension. 'Essentially, it's an end run around the DNC and state parties,' said a third state chairman. 'For the long-term health of our party, I don't think it is the way to go. I don't think fighting for donors is the way to do it. ... We've won five of the last six popular votes in the general elections, so something's working." (James Hohmann, "Dem Officials Fret Over New Obama Nonprofit," Politico, 1/23/13)

  • Democrat State Party Chairman: Organizing For Action Is "Going To Push The President's Agenda" And Not "Help Democrats Elect Democrats." "'The simple truth of the matter is that OFA 4.0, or whatever it is now, is not going to work to elect our local legislators,' the chairman added. 'It's not going to work to elect our local governors. It's going to work to push the president's agenda. I come from a state where the president's not very popular. My elected Democrats are not always going to line up with him, and getting the activists all juiced up over it doesn't help elect Democrats.'" (James Hohmann, "Dem Officials Fret Over New Obama Nonprofit," Politico, 1/23/13)

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