Howard Dean: DNC 'Can't Be a Force' Until Millions in Debts Paid

Image: Howard Dean: DNC 'Can't Be a Force' Until Millions in Debts Paid

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 11:44 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Democratic National Committee is overwhelmed by a mountain of debt with an $8 million bank loan coming due in June, according to Politico.

And although the DNC plans to outline grand plans for a resurgence at its winter meeting starting Thursday in Washington, former chairman Howard Dean fears it may never be as influential as it was when it helped re-elect President Barack Obama.

"They can't be a force until they get rid of their debt," said Dean, who was DNC chairman from 2005-2009. "There was a very strong infrastructure that helped [Obama] get elected.

"The problem is, they've also privatized a lot of that. It's not clear to me whether the DNC will ever be as strong as it was, but we'll have to see."

According to Roll Call, the DNC ended 2013 with $4.7 million in the bank and $15.6 million in debt, while the Republican National Committee had $9.1 million in the bank, debt free. The RNC figure has since climbed to $9.8 million, Politico says.

The struggling DNC recently received a boost when it was learned that venture capitalist Alan Patricof, a friend of the Clintons, planned to help the committee get rid of its debt in preparation for Hillary Clinton's potential run for the White House.

Politico reported that while super PACs are getting a major slice of donor money, the DNC is also facing competition as a political force from Organizing for Action, which was launched during Obama's last re-election campaign.

"They have a huge climb back because of OFA," said Dean, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and former Vermont governor, who Politico says is skeptical of his former group's ability to bounce back.

Even though the DNC does not appear to have the money to launch new initiatives, the committee has targeted three main areas — data and technology, voter protection, and rapid response — to tout the Democratic cause, says the report.

"You look at the context of what the world looks like now and what does the DNC have to do," said Amy Dacey, the committee's new CEO. "What are the programs that we can do uniquely and do really well and only the DNC can do and provide for the whole party for success?"

The highlight of the DNC program is its database — nicknamed Project Ivy after the street where the headquarters are situated — which contains all the campaign information collected during Obama's re-election run. The data was successfully used in the recent governor's race in Virginia.

The DNC meeting will also launch the new Voter Expansion Project, which will focus on confronting ID requirements and other voting restrictions by sending lawyers and other experts to the courts and into the field when required, says Politico.

At the DNC meeting, a new video will be launched with former President Bill Clinton pushing for party members to fight back against voting regulations.

"It's not enough anymore to be against these new voting restrictions," Clinton says in the video. "This project, through legislation, education, registration and good old-fashioned advocacy and organizing, will protect and extend the franchise."


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