Prying open members’ fists is an election year ritual for leaders of both parties, but Democrats contend this time around has been particularly frustrating. Facing a team of deep-pocketed Republican outside groups poised to swamp them in TV ad spending — and with the party not benefiting from the kind of wave conditions that lifted Republicans two years ago — Democrats say the stinginess of their lawmakers has left them severely weakened as the fall campaign season approaches.
Democrats say they’ve tried just about everything to get their colleagues to open their wallets. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has told members that unless they pay their dues in full, they won’t get to partake in the committee’s Democratic National Convention package, complete with access to much sought-after hotel rooms and parties. And in early June, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to shame her members into giving, distributing notes to each of them with a request for cash and asking them if they are part of “the team.”
The push hasn’t had much success. As of June 30, 64 Democrats — around one-third of the entire caucus — hadn’t paid anything to the DCCC, according to a party document provided to POLITICO.