In 2010, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent more than $65 million on advertising in independent expenditures to help Democrats around the country get elected to Congress. They spent money in 77 races, and lost two thirds of those races. The bulk of that money went to media buys that produced very lucrative revenue streams for a handful of consulting firms chosen by the DCCC.
The distribution of that money was heavily favored towards male candidates, however. On average, incumbent male candidates received 61% more than their female counterparts.
Average expenditure on female challengers: $1,165,945
Average expenditure on male challengers: $1,507,118
Male challengers received an average of $341,173 or 20.55% more than women
Average expenditure on female incumbents: $521,938
Average expenditure on a male incumbents: $845,134
Men incumbents received an average of $323,196 or 61% more than women
Three female candidates who lost their election bids — Melissa Bean, Suzanne Kosmas and Carol Shea-Porter — received no help in the form of independent expenditure money from the DCCC.
Of the six consulting firms chosen by the DCCC, races represented by Ralston-Lapp received more media buy money than any other:
|Consulting Firm||DCCC Money Spent on Media|
|Shorr Johnson Magnus||$8,620,642|
John Lapp, of Ralston-Lapp, former Executive Director of the DCCC under Rahm Emanuel, was the senior adviser for the IE Committee this year. His firm was also one of the six firms chosen by the DCCC for the lucrative independent expenditure media contracts. Several candidates have confirmed that they were told by Chris Van Hollen and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz that Lapp was responsible for decisions about where the DCCC’s $65 million in independent expenditure money was distributed.
Earlier this year, Nancy Pelosi chose Steve Israel over Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to lead the DCCC. Wasserman-Schultz had seniority, but Israel is a close ally of Lapp. Both Lapp and John Vogel, current DCCC Executive Director, worked on Israel’s first congressional campaign in 2000.
Yesterday’s headline in Politico: “Wasserman-Schultz Rise Stalls Out”
Democratic leadership also supported Adam Smith over Loretta Sanchez to be ranking member of the Armed Services Committee yesterday, because Smith had seniority. But today leadership, who have always vigorously defended the seniority system for committee heads, completely abandoned it when Steny Hoyer himself nominated Elijah Cummings over Carolyn Maloney to head the Oversight Committee.
Last week Sander Levin beat out Richard Neal for the top spot on Ways & Means because he had seniority and had raised more money for the DCCC. But Wasserman-Schultz raised more money than Israel, and Maloney raised more money than Cummings.
Women members of Congress contribute significantly to the DCCC’s coffers. But they don’t appear to be getting much for their money.