Obama fundraising button featured on the DSCC homepage.
D.C. political news site Politico reports that there is tension between the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and President Obama over Obama's fundraising efforts. The DSCC is nervous that Obama's fundraising drive will pilfer big donors away from the DSCC and may jeopardize their ability to maintain a Democratic majority in the senate.
Senate Democrats are increasingly concerned that President Barack Obama’s campaign money machine is sucking up so much cash that it will cut into the party’s aggressive campaign to hold on to the Senate next year, several Democratic sources say.
Democratic senators have already pressed Obama campaign officials — including campaign manager Jim Messina — not to lock up the richest Democratic donors, but the presidential campaign declined to make such a promise.
Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Senate Democrats have also asked for at least $10 million in aid from the Democratic National Committee as well as the president’s reelection campaign to help underwrite expensive TV ad campaigns and on-the-ground efforts for crucial Senate races in 2012, according to Democratic sources.
In a recent meeting in Washington, Reid, along with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-highest ranking Democrat; and Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, made their pitch to Messina, according to Democratic sources.
Messina would not agree to the request not to max out big donors, and no decision was made on the amount of financial backing that Senate Democrats will get from the DNC and the Obama-Biden campaign.
Adding more competition in the race for cash, Democratic operatives have formed a number of new third-party groups, known as super PACs, each of which have sometimes competing goals of electing more House Democrats, Senate Democrats or Obama himself. These operatives are often competing for the same list of wealthy donors.
All this comes at a time of growing concern among Democrats that Obama’s decreasing popularity may limit the amount donors are willing to give to Democratic campaigns.
While nowhere near as intense as the donor scramble going on among GOP presidential hopefuls, Democratic strategists and fundraisers are aware that donor dollars are especially precious in a struggling economy.
Still, relations between the Obama administration and Senate Democrats have grown increasingly sour in recent months, and many Democrats were disappointed over the president’s eagerness to cut a debt ceiling deal with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio.). There is also concern that the president and his top emissaries have been pinning the blame for Washington dysfunction more on Congress as a whole, rather than specifically on their Republican adversaries.
One major point of contention among Democratic fundraisers centers on the “Presidential Partners” program. Under that program, donors who pledge $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee operated by the DNC and Obama for America, can attend private briefings, sometimes with Obama himself. As part of this effort, donors give $5,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign, along with $61,600 to the DNC and $9,200 to a new fundraising entity that will spend money on down-ballot races in the states.
“That has ruffled some feathers,” said a senior Democratic officials, referring to the push for big donors.
Sen. Murray was not quoted in the article, but we contacted Murray's office to gauge the accuracy of the report and to see if Murray herself, as head of the DSCC, had personally raised any concerns with the Obama camp.