Facing a multimillion dollar shortfall when compared to their Democratic rivals, top House GOP leaders organized a crackdown on members last month, demanding they pay party “dues” — regular contributions to theNational Republican Congressional Committee. And the whipping seems to have had an impact: In the days after media reports of the leadership’s irritation with deadbeat Republican caucus members, the cash began pouring in, including from lawmakers who’d been publicly shamed.
The bad news, however, is that the NRCC is still lagging behind its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
While there is no official system of dues collection, it’s widely understood that members of Congress who want support from the party apparatus come election season must kick in money themselves, and any member hoping to attain a leadership position or prime committee slot must kick in much more. The fees reportedly escalate from tens of thousands of dollars for junior members to hundreds of thousands for senior members who want top committee posts.
But with the funds coming in at a slow or nonexistent trickle from some quarters, leaders decided to crack the whip. Out of 234 GOP members of the House, only about 120 had paid their dues in full, Politico reported in July. Several big names were on the list of debtors, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
According to OpenSecrets.org data and Federal Election Commission filings, on the day the Politico article was published, Goodlatte’s campaign and leadership PAC combined to give the NRCC $346,450. Then on July 31, his campaign transferred another $122,000. That’s in line with the contributions of many other committee chairs, though well below the $2.1 million that Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has kicked in.
Several other members of the GOP caucus were named in the Politico article, and since its publication, most have responded.