Monica Fallout Doesn't Hurt Democrats' Fund-Raising
Both parties continue to gorge on 'soft money'
By Brooks Jackson/CNN
WASHINGTON (Aug. 10) -- Surprisingly, Monica Lewinsky hasn't hurt the Democrats' fund-raising efforts one little bit.
Some Democrats had feared donations to the Democratic party would dry up because of the president's troubles from the sex-and-perjury inquiry. It hasn't happened, though. Democrats are rolling in money.
Latest reports show the Democratic National Committee [DNC] raised $80.6 million during the 18 months ended June 30, up 39 percent from the same period four years ago.
Soft money -- unregulated donations from corporations, unions and the rich -- made up 45 percent of the total.
The DNC needed the money badly to pay for legal bills stemming from the Asian money scandal of '96. It's been digging its way out of debt.
Meanwhile, thanks partly to nonstop money-raising by the president, the party is stockpiling big money for House and Senate campaigns.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $25.5 million between January 1997 and June 1998 million, up 56 percent from four years ago. Thirty-eight percent of that was soft money.
Democrats say $8 million of that was raised at a dozen events featuring the president. He's still the fund-raiser-in-chief.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $30.5 million in the same period, an 81 percent increase. More than one dollar of every three was soft money, illegal for direct use in Senate or House elections.
Nevertheless, both parties are gorging on soft money to finance so-called "issue ads."
Republicans say they're raising $37 million for similar ads this fall, much of it soft money.
Despite Lewinsky, national Democratic party committees have raised $137 million overall, up 50 percent, between January 1997 and June 1998. But Republicans raised $215 million, up 49 percent. The arms race continues.
Republicans are hoping the president's Monica troubles will discourage Democratic voters on Election Day, holding down turnout. But so far, the money is holding up.