Though the past six months have been financially beneficial to the Blue Dog Coalition, it appears that the Dogs’ fundraising intake has slowed, despite all the attention the coalition has received.
In our report last month, the Center detailed how donations to the Coalition’s PAC had soared as members of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats become a crucial swing vote between Democrats and Republicans. Given all publicity about the Blue Dogs’ new-found power, we thought it would be interesting to look at the recently-released July fundraising numbers for the Blue Dog PAC and see if anything had changed. We were surprised by what we found.
The Blue Dog PAC took in only $27,000 from other PACs in July, a significant decrease from the record $176,000-a-month-plus average it took in during the first six months of 2009. For comparison, the PAC took in $106,500 in June from other political action committees. As the Blue Dogs exploded to the forefront of the health care debate in July, not a single health care sector political committee donated to the Blue Dog PAC. And despite hefty contributions in previous months from energy companies concerned about the climate change bill, the energy donations also completely dried up in July. Through the first six months of the year, these sectors were the two largest contributors.
What could be causing this drop off in funding? It’s hard to say for sure, but here are a few possibilities: Perhaps with the climate bill out of the way and prospects for speedy action on a major health care overhaul dwindling, these companies feel their work is done. With all the attention the Blue Dogs have generated and the focus on who is funding them, these companies may have decided to lay low for a while. Many of these PACs may have already donated their allotted funds for the year. It’s even possible that the PAC managers were all on vacation for July. According to data from 2006 and 2008, the Blue Dog PAC does appear to have a traditional drop-off in contributions for the month of July, but not nearly at the dramatic level seen this year.
We attempted to ask representatives from Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, both of whom donated in June of this year but have not yet reached the legal maximum, why they didn’t contribute again in July and whether a drop off in PAC to PAC giving is a common occurrence for this month; neither responded in time for publication. Calls to the spokesperson for the Blue Dog coalition were not returned by press time.
Regardless of the cause of this dip in funds, it will be interesting to track what happens in the coming months. If the PAC giving picks up, it will be business as usual. If this downward trend continues, however, the Blue Dogs might be wondering what they did to end up in the doghouse.