Connecticut Democrats shaken down for campaign cash

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, pulled the entire Connecticut delegation — except for Rep. Chris Murphy — off the House floor Thursday to ask them for money.

The DCCC helps Democratic candidates facing tough races. Incumbent House members all pay dues — calculated on seniority and committee assignments — out of their campaign funds. Those in leadership are expected to pay more.

The DCCC keeps the dues schedule secret, but the political website Politico has reported that Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District — both members of the Democratic leadership — are expected to pony up at least $450,000 apiece.

Larson has given the DCCC $430,000 since Jan. 1, 2011. But DeLauro has contributed only $165,000.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, has given the DCCC $15,000, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, has donated $55,000.

Israel is serious about raising money because Republican House members flooded the National Republican Congressional Committee with nearly $6.4 million as of June 30. Meanwhile, the DCCC has received about $1.8 million from Democratic lawmakers.

DCCC spokesman Stephen Carter declined to comment about Israel’s talk with the Connecticut delegation Thursday, held on a balcony in the Capitol, saying “it was a private conversation.”

Murphy, D-5th District, was likely left out of that balcony meeting because he has only about $600 left in his House campaign fund, having transferred all his money to a Senate campaign fund because he’s running for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat.

To make Israel’s problems worse, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the head of the Democratic National Committee, is also putting the touch on congressional Democrats.

DeLauro said Israel wanted to know if the Democratic members of the Connecticut delegation “had been asked to raise money for the DNC.”

The DNC raises money to help President Obama, who is going to Connecticut to raise campaign cash next week.

A Democratic aide said there should be no competition for money from the members of the Connecticut delegation, who are adept at raising campaign cash, and — except for Himes — have no serious challengers.

“There’s enough money to go around for everybody,” the aide said.