DNC in Debt, Delaying Payments to Vendors

GOP suggests dark money group Organizing for Action soaking up donations

• September 30, 2013 3:25 pm


The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is mired in debt and is even putting off payments to vendors, who complained anonymously to CNN about overdue bills owed by the party’s national committee.

The DNC is currently $18.1 million in the hole.

"Senior strategists close to the DNC say they worry the organization appears to have no road map back to solvency," CNN reported on Monday.

Several executives at firms that contract to provide services to the party — speaking anonymously to avoid antagonizing what remains an important if troubled client — describe an organization playing for time as they raise alarms about past-due bills falling further behind. … It is a highly unusual state of affairs for a national party—especially one that can deploy the President as its fundraiser-in-chief—and it speaks to the quiet but serious organizational problems the party has yet to address since the last election, obscured in part by the much messier spectacle of GOP infighting.

A major factor in the DNC’s inability to cover its expenses may be a donor base that is giving to Organizing for Action, the 501(c)(4) that emerged from the president’s reelection campaign, rather than to the Democratic Party.

The group can raise unlimited sums from deep-pocketed donors, and there is some evidence it is siphoning resources from the DNC. All of the top-tier OFA donors this year have been prolific supporters of the DNC in past years. But of the 13 who cut six-figure checks to OFA in the first half of this year, only three gave to the DNC over the same period, according to a review of records from the Center for Responsive Politics. […]

"Donors are being pulled in two directions, and there's absolutely no doubt it's impacted the DNC's fundraising," one top Democratic operative said. "I'm hearing it from donors regularly that they're being told to help one and not the other."

Republicans anticipated this problem in August, according to a report in Politico.

A 4-page research hit, shared first with POLITICO, says the Democratic National Committee has been overshadowed by the Obama-focused Organizing for Action this year and highlights DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz raising funds for her own leadership PAC while the party itself carries debt.

RNC chief of staff Mike Shields likes to say his committee is "in a space race with the DNC." The GOP notes that OFA will not be able to legally coordinate with a Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden presidential campaign in 2016 as the DNC can. They think OFA diverting fundraising resources and focus from electing Democrats toward President Barack Obama’s legacy will give Republicans an advantage in both 2014 and 2016.

Published under: DNC, OFA