Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, spoken as the D triple-C or the D-trip) is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States House of Representatives, working to elect Democrats to that body. They play a critical role in recruiting candidates, raising funds, and organizing races in districts that are expected to yield politically notable or close elections. The structure of the committee consists, essentially, of the Chairperson (who according to current Democratic Caucus rules is a fellow member of the Caucus appointed by the party leader in the House), their staff, and other Democratic members of Congress that serve in roles supporting the functions of the committee (candidate recruitment, fundraising, etc.).

The Chairperson of the DCCC is the fourth ranking position among House Democrats, after the Minority Leader, the Minority Whip and the Democratic Caucus Chairperson.

History[edit]

The DCCC was founded in 1866 as the Democratic National Congressional Committee.

Due to campaign finance reform legislation that took effect in the 2004 election cycle, the DCCC splits into two organizations a few months before each Election Day. One organization (the "Coordinated" campaign) can continue to stay in contact with the individual congressional campaigns, offering advice and suggestions to candidates and their staffs in each race. The other organization (the "Independent Expenditure" campaign), which makes independent expenditures in congressional districts on behalf of the campaigns, is not allowed to coordinate activities with the campaigns. In recent elections, the DCCC has played an expansive role in supporting Democratic candidates with independently produced TV ads and mail pieces.

Chris Van Hollen, flanked by Democratic House challengers, speaks during the second day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in his capacity as chair of the DCCC.

The position of DCCC committee chair was assumed by Rahm Emanuel after the death of the previous chair, Bob Matsui at the end of the 2004 election cycle. Emanuel led the Democratic Party's effort to capture the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections. After Emanuel's election as chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Chris Van Hollen became committee chair for the 110th Congress, and thus for the 2008 elections. He continued through the 2010 elections. For the 2012 election cycle, Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed congressman Steve Israel to serve as the committee's chair.

Research department[edit]

Of the four congressional campaign committees, the DCCC, with a staff of 25, has the largest in-house research department. In a February 2012 profile of the department, Roll Call wrote that “The DCCC’s team of mostly 20-somethings researches opposition targets for eight weeks at a time, scouring news clips and YouTube videos and traveling across the country to comb through public records, all in hopes of finding a good hit. Discoveries go into hundred-page research books on their targets that are used as bait to recruit candidates, leaked to reporters or cited in campaign advertisements and mail pieces.”[1]

Support for Occupy Wall Street[edit]

The DCCC's support for the Occupy Wall Street movement attracted attention and caused some controversy. Politico reported in October 2011 that the DCCC's position on Occupy Wall Street was making Democratic contributors in the banking and financial services sectors “livid”.[2] After the DCCC sent out an email urging supporters to sign a petition backing the Occupy movement, banking executives called the DCCC’s office demanding answers, according to three financial services lobbyists.[2]

Controversy[edit]

Controversy arose after the DCCC issued press releases on June 29 and July 2, 2012 which claimed that funds from which Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino owner, donates to the Republican Party come in part from “Chinese prostitution money”.[3] The press releases were repeating allegations from one of Adelson’s former employees who filed a lawsuit and alleged that Adelson “approved of prostitution at a casino in Macau”.[4] The DCCC repeated the charges in press releases that attacked Republicans Jim Renacci, Scott DesJarlais, and Jim Gerlach.[3]

Adelson fought back against the claims, which he called “outrageous”, and filed a brief threatening a libel suit against the DCCC which demanded that the “DCCC retract the claims, apologize for them, and retain any documents associated with them in preparation for a potential lawsuit”.[5] Politifact, a nonpartisan fact checking organization, rated the DCCC’s claims as “pants on fire”, saying that the DCCC “seized upon [a] questionable claim, extrapolated and exaggerated it to taint all of Adelson's political donations with prostitution earnings” and then carried “that on down a convoluted line to Scott DesJarlais and talk about "his Chinese prostitution money"”.[4]

On August 2 the DCCC issued a public apology, saying:

“In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused.”[6]

List of Chairs[edit]

NameStateTerm of Service
Patrick J. KennedyRI1999-2001
Nita LoweyNY2001-2003
Bob MatsuiCA2003-2005
Rahm EmanuelIL2005-2007
Chris Van HollenMD2007-2011
Steve IsraelNY2011-

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]