“Interesting timing,” Kenneth Vogel wrote on Twitter about the latest DNC filing with the FEC — but it’s perfectly understandable. The first full year under the leadership of Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison has been financially disastrous, so hiding it in the spectacle of the State of the Union speech makes a lot of sense. The GOP’s rapid response director caught Vogel’s tweet and added some context to it:
The DNC tried to bury their latest FEC #s tonight…
DNC 6.1M (!!)
Heading into 2018, the DNC is less than $200K away from insolvency. https://t.co/ifRY2NYlPD
— Michael Ahrens (@michaelahrens) January 31, 2018
The DNC should, under almost any other leadership, be raising money hand over fist. They have a hostile president who almost delights in polarization, a progressive wing that fancies itself a “resistance,” and billionaires who want to keep fighting the last election. Democratic congressional committees have remained competitive in fundraising, although Republicans have shown a considerable improvement in their efforts even with a relatively unpopular president as the public face of the party.
This report is nothing short of a disaster. Having $6.1 million in debt with only $6.3 million cash on hand is basically being broke. Debt means interest payments, after all, which will eventually overtake the COH position — and probably sooner rather than later. The DNC has to be able to spend to set up its fundraising, and right now that’s looking iffy.
More to the point, the DNC has to organize and fund a GOTV effort this fall if they want to score big in the midterms. Some have suggested that the dollars are going instead to the candidates directly, although there’s no real data to support that as of yet. It’s not going especially to the congressional committees, at least not in ways that show a serious advantage for Democrats. However, as 2016 should have proven to everyone but especially Democrats, it’s dangerous to leave GOTV to the candidate campaigns. They usually don’t have sufficient resources for significant coordination and usually rely on the central committees for at least the heavy data crunching.
At some point, Democrats will have to ask themselves what in the heck Perez and Ellison are doing at the DNC. If they wait until this time next year, they’re going to be doing it from the minority … again.