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February 17, 2008

Tsongas Campaign Funds Down; Meehan Campaign Funds Up

by at 11:36 am.

Last week, Evan Lehmann of the Sun’s Washington bureau reported that Congresswoman Niki Tsongas campaign account is down to about $11,000 and it owes her $50,000 for a loan she made to her campaign last fall.

Tsongas was able to raise close to $5 million for the special MA 5th District congressional race which she won. But in a few months she will need to campaign again.

Kurt Hayes, who ran as an Independent during the special election, has announced that he will run as a Republican this time. With all due respect to Hayes, who I found to be an articulate, prepared and knowledgeable candidate, the Massachusetts Republican party is not going to be able to provide a lot of help, financial or otherwise. They just do not have their act together.

As for Tsongas, needless to say, she will not need the kind of funds she needed for the special election where she had formidable opponents and it was a wide open race.

However, a Representative needs funds in their campaign war chest not so much for the race itself but to make the kinds of contribution to the party and other races that is expected of them. Furthermore, she needs funds for the day to day political activities.

According to my calculations the majority of her money came from out of the District; this may make it a bit more difficult to raise money. The other issue is Marty Meehan. As the Sun reported today, the U. Mass Lowell Chancellor has close to $5 million in his campaign fund, “The total included $15,373 in donations that were contributed from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Meehan took over as UMass Lowell’s chancellor in July.” I hope those who gave that money to the former Congressperson were as generous to the sitting one.

14 Responses to “Tsongas Campaign Funds Down; Meehan Campaign Funds Up”

  1. EaBo Clipper Says:

    The Lowell Sun was wrong. I just looked at the year end FEC filing and Mahty raised the $15K over the course of last year. It was for the “election cycle to date”. He raised no money during the third quarter. His only receipts in the quarter were interest payments for the cash he has on hand. If he is earning 4% interest on that money he is raising $200k+ a year without doing anything. Unbelievable. He should be required to close his account.

  2. Lynne Says:

    As much as I dislike the holding onto his campaign funds, especially when it could have helped us win more in 2004/2006, it’s his to do whatever he decides. Meehan raised the money for his campaigns, and as far as I can tell, he’s done it the way I generally like - with individual donors. Meehan was an advocate for campaign finance reform.

    Look, we all know that when a Senate seat opens, he’s going to run for it. Politically, he’d be a total fool to get rid of that money advantage. And people donated to him with the understanding that he use it for campaigns. So it’s not like he’s being fast and loose with people’s money.

  3. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    The Lowell Sun…WRONG? No, say it ain’t so! :)

    I think Niki will have a hard time raising money at least from her district as we head into a recession, if we aren’t there already. If on the other hand Ogonowski had decided on a rematch with Tsongas instead of going for Kerry then the campaign donations would be more plentiful for Tsongas.

    Then there is the likely State Rep fight between Nangle and Eileen Donoughue that will draw off more money.

    As far as Marty’s warchest I think most people expect him to run for US Senate when Kennedy or Kerry call it quits so that’s what it’s sitting around for IMHO.

  4. Michael in Pawtucketville Says:

    I hope that he stays around UML but it’s pretty obvious that he’s a guy that likes to get things done, wherever he’s working at the time. I don’t see the current Senators giving up their seats anytime soon so I think that he’s good with just camping the funds until the opportunity arises.

    I think that he’d do a decent job as Governor too.

  5. Josh Says:

    This is why people call campaign finance reform “The encumbent protection act.”

  6. Dan Says:

    FACTS:

    -Meehan’s push for “campaign finance reform” included the measure which raised the individual’s contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 to finally $2,300.

    -In a short period of time after the law was enacted, Meehan had the largest coffer in the House, and an account that was larger than 90 out of our 100 senators.

    -The law still allows for “bundling.”

    -Sen. Clinton has, during this cycle, raised $9,200 from single individuals because of the loophole that allows individuals to donate to both her 2012 Senate campaign and her current presidential race.

    -Sen. Obama’s message has inspired many toddlers across America to donate from their vast resources the maximum contribution.

    -The saying “Money corrupts” does not have a caveat for or distinguish from where the money comes.

    -Less than 1/2 of 1% of Americans contribute, as individuals, to political campaigns.

    (There are many more; these are just a few.)

    And just a note about Meehan’s donors: they donated with the understanding that there would be some kind of return. Unless they have a kid going to UMass Lowell, that’s not working out for them right now, is it?

  7. Mimi Says:

    Eabo and Eleanor:

    The Sun is right. Donations were made to Meehan’s Campaign Fund after he was appointed Chancellor. Check out the Federal Election Commission website or take my word for it. :-)

    Dan:
    I agree with you. No one gives money to a campaign without expecting something in return. $5M is a lot of to return.

    Ironically, by the time Marty is able to run for Senate (because Ted retires), the election system would have advanced and the old school way of campaigning, tv and newspaper ads, would be something of the past and you may not need $5 million to successfully campaign. What you may need is a message that resonates (i.e. Deval and Obama).

  8. Michael in NH and Pawtucket Says:

    > What you may need is a message that resonates (i.e. Deval and Obama).

    I hope that we eventually get over the packaging and get someone that actually gets things done.

    I’d take Meehan over Patrick in the Governor’s Office.

  9. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Michael in NH and Pawtucket, just FYI if Meehan does decided he wants to be Governor he can’t use any of the $5-Million to do it!

    The last time Meehan made noise that he was considering a run for governor lawmakers passed what has become known as The Meehan Law, it prohibits the use of federal campaign funds in statewide elections. Governor he will not be :)

  10. Michael in NH and Pawtucketvill Says:

    Hard to believe that politics works that way. The Legislature was afraid of Meehan in the Governor’s seat?

  11. joe Says:

    Dan, Mimi,

    And just a note about Meehan’s donors: they donated with the understanding that there would be some kind of return…No one gives money to a campaign without expecting something in return.

    I once sent 20 bucks to a candidate in California who was running for Duke Cunningham’s seat after he went to the clink. I didn’t expect anything from her. I just wanted her to win the seat.

    I’m sure the people giving $20 and $50 and $100 to Barack Obama don’t expect anything in return, except that he won’t suck at being the president if he wins. What are they going to do, yell “Mr. President! Mr. President! I mailed you thirty-seven bucks!” as his motorcade goes by?

    Especially now, when you can donate at a web page, people are sending small amounts of money as a form of political activism. Candidates like Huckabee, Obama, and Ron Paul - people-powered candidates - have raised a ton of money that way. Sometimes liberal websites have virtual fundraisers. A lot of Democrats benefitted from that in 2006.

    Although that’s not how Marty Meehan got his donations. From liberal political blogs. Certainly not.

  12. Dan Says:

    joe,

    you did expect something in return, then. you expected that, should the woman have won the seat, she would have stayed in Congress until her term expired. i wasn’t suggesting something necessarily nefarious. i was suggesting that everyone that donates has an expectation, whether well-intentioned or not. the fact that meehan is chancellor when he could be the chairman in charge of an important subcommittee means he has not many of those expectations–dollar for dollar.

  13. joe Says:

    No, Dan, I expected nothing in return.

    “Return” - to give back

    I expected nothing back whatsoever. I expected to receive nothing.

    You might as well write that everyone who votes expects to receive something in return. If you wish to define your terms in a way that makes that statement true, have at it, but that was not your original implication.

  14. Dan Says:

    It’s a tricky thing to ascribe my intention or implication without knowing me. What you should take away from what I wrote is that those people who gave money to Meehan are not having their expectations met. Would you have given the $20 for the candidate in California if she decided three months into the term she’d resign? Would you give money to any candidate who wasn’t going to use it in good faith? Who would waste it or take it? I don’t know what you would do. But the majority of people (99.5% about) are like me, and will not donate anywhere. Money is only a substitute for activism. It only diminishes the power of those that can not afford to donate. The privilege to vote is given to citizens at 18. We did away with the donkey and 10 acres requirement for a reason–to become more democratic.

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