Hurting for Money? Obama Cuts Off Congressional Democrats from DNC Funds

Matthew Sheffield
By Matthew Sheffield | March 13, 2012 | 5:33 PM EDT

The president's reelection effort has entered some sort of Twilight Zone-ish alternate reality, where money is tight and Barack Obama's opponent is Sarah Palin.

Last week, word leaked out that President Obama's reelection campaign notified House and Senate Democrats that they won't be sharing any of the president's campaign funds with them this year. House and Senate Democrats are on their own financially.

The news shows the Obama campaign - which a few months ago was suggesting it would raise a billion dollars - is having enough trouble raising money that it now thinks its is necessary to hoard cash, despite a hectic fundraising schedule.

At the same time, the Democratic National Committee also notified House and Senate Democrats not to expect any DNC money, either - suggesting the DNC does not believe its money would help Democrats in their effort to regain a majority in the House or protect its majority in the Senate.

The Atlantic likens Obama and the DNC's decision to not help fund House and Senate races  to putting "the rest of the Democratic Party on a starvation diet," adding the detail that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had "sought commitments for $30 million, the amount distributed to them in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles."

The story in The Atlantic suggests that the reason Obama and the DNC have decided to hoard their money rather than share it with Pelosi and Reid is they are terrified of massive spending by anti-Obama "Super PACs."

However, that concern may be misplaced, for two reasons, as Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, one of the biggest pro-Republican super PACs in Washington, tells The Atlantic:
"Law said that Obama's real concern ought to be how much money he has raised and how fast it's spent. So far, Obama's campaign has raised $137 million, spent $63 million, and reports $76 million cash-on-hand. Obama has conducted 100 fundraisers already this cycle. At the same stage of the race in 2004, then-President Bush had held only 56 fundraisers but had more than $100 million cash-on-hand, said Law, who admitted to "monitoring pretty closely" Obama's campaign finances.
"'They are spending at a very fast clip and have a high burn rate,' Law said. 'They have a very expensive machine to build and feed'."
Law said American Crossroads, which spent $71 million in 2010, intends to raise $120 million this election, but a third of that will go toward helping Republicans win House and Senate races, rather than toward defeating Obama.

He predicted that half or more of all pro-Republican super-PAC spending will focus on House and Senate races, not Obama.

Team Obama would know that, of course, and yet they still have chosen to toss House and Senate Democrats under the bus.

Meanwhile, Team Obama has decided this week that their opponent is Sarah Palin, and targeted her with a bizarre, desperate ad that aims to demonize her in order to raise money for the Obama re-election effort, even though she isn't running against Obama. It's a desperate attempt to raise money, but it could backfire as no one fires up the Republican base like Palin does.