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Nine sitting Democratic senators have plowed a total of $1.4 million

Politico

By BURGESS EVERETT and TARINI PARTI | 6/2/14 5:41 PM EDT
Updated: 6/3/14 10:16 AM EDT

Majority Leader Harry Reid and his caucus are bent on outlawing billionaire Koch-style political spending.

But until they do, Democrats are leaning right into this year’s big-money race for Senate control — and Republicans are likely to remind them of that very thing at a Tuesday hearing on a constitutional amendment to limit outside spending.

Meanwhile, Reid and Senate Democrats are directing big checks to Senate Majority PAC — the primary left-leaning outside group aimed at retaining their majority. With close ties to Reid, the super PAC provides air cover for vulnerable Democratic senators and challengers in the TV wars with conservative outside groups.

Nine sitting Democratic senators have plowed a total of $1.4 million into Senate Majority PAC over the past two election cycles, according to public records. Lawmakers say they will give even more this year if their fundraising ambitions pan out. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) even dipped into his personal fortune to fund the group.

Some senators — including Reid (D-Nev.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) — have also attended fundraisers for Senate Majority PAC. President Barack Obama is set this year to make an appearance for the group, though it has yet to be scheduled. More than any other lawmaker, Reid has lured cash to Senate Majority PAC — and his Searchlight Leadership Fund has given $355,000 to it over the past four years, including the most recent $100,000 salvo sent this winter.

The contributions come as Reid’s rhetorical attacks on the Senate floor against billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch have become as common as the daily Senate prayer. And Democrats’ relationship with big money may take center stage when Reid spars on Tuesday with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a constitutional amendment to allow Congress to regulate political spending.

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