Even if House Democrats at risk now repay their dues, Ocasio-Cortez’s name will almost certainly appear on their federal election commission’s reports when they are due this month – creating liability for members of their party who live in districts where they are re-elected Have to be held liable Your political brand has been poisoned thanks to years of relentless republican attacks.
According to multiple sources, at least three Democrats have either refused the first transfer or announced they will return the money: Representatives Conor Lamb from Pennsylvania, Carolyn Bourdeaux from Georgia, and Elissa Slotkin from Michigan.
Several people involved in the episode described it as an unconstrained mistake by the DCCC, as the campaign arm staff failed to understand the political ramifications of having the most polarizing figure in their party on their donor lists of vulnerable members, so-called frontliners, was set.
Chris Hayden, a DCCC spokesman, declined to comment on the details, but said: “We appreciate Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s continued commitment to a Democratic majority. Some transfers were made in error due to miscommunication, but this has been fixed. “
Typically, Swing District Democrats are looking for every last dollar to secure their re-election, especially in a first quarter that has been tougher than usual for candidates across the board. But the Ocasio-Cortez donation, these Democrats said, was unsolicited and came without warning. Many of their campaigns were only given heads-up on the donation from the DCCC after it was credited to members’ accounts – a move that surprised senior advisors and campaigners.
“The GOP has said for four years that the frontliners are all socialists. Now they have the receipts to prove it. Anyone who says this is not included in campaign ads will be rejected, ”said a Democratic advisor who works for members with swing seats.
In the political giving world, wire transfers are often used to quickly move large sums of money from one account to another, especially during the last phase of a fundraising quarter and during a pandemic. However, the Ocasio-Cortez transfers came with a clear political risk for some members, and some sources indicated that they could have alleviated current concerns by referring them directly to the DCCC.
However, other Democrats said they viewed Ocasio-Cortez’s interest in helping incumbent incumbents as a positive sign of party unity, even if stunned by the method. And privately, the liberal star is already personally close to some of the frontliners, many of whom were elected in the same blue wave that helped the Democrats recapture the house in 2018.
She offered to make similar donations to Frontline Democrats during the 2020 election cycle but only contributed to those who accepted the offer, according to two sources familiar with her political work.
The second New York Democrat spent years with the campaign arm and is among several progressives who have refused to pay membership dues to DCCC, in part because of its treatment of liberal primary challengers.
Their current donation round alone – a total of $ 160,000 – accounts for more than half of Ocasio-Cortez’s total contribution target for the 2020 cycle, according to a contribution report received from POLITICO.
Ocasio-Cortez is a productive fundraiser with its own campaign machine that could be of great use to Democrats if they try to hold onto their majority next fall. While she has given a few individual frontline Democrats in the past, such as Reps Mike Levin and Katie Porter of California and Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, her previous donation has been more selective.
This year’s harvest includes the DCCC frontliners 32 handpicked Democrats facing some of the toughest elections in the country next November. The majority of them changed GOP seats in 2018. Some, like Levin and Porter of California, proudly identify with the party’s left wing and would face minimal political risk from belonging to the progressive icon.
But Ocasio-Cortez’s money poses a problem for Democrats like Maine Rep Jared Golden and Slotkin, who represent a temperate turf and have tried to distance themselves from the left wing of the caucus. Many of the Democratic frontliners are particularly concerned this cycle after their party’s election disaster last November that wiped out 13 incumbents. Even Democrats clinging to their seats saw profit margins much closer than expected and continued to be shocked by inaccurate polls.
Now Republican campaigns have an obvious fodder for attacks on many of these Democrats “funded” or “money taken from” by Ocasio-Cortez. Previous GOP attempts to turn Ocasio-Cortez and other younger color Democrats into bogeywomen haven’t paid huge dividends with independent voters, but their effectiveness in motivating the Republican grassroots means they’ll likely keep going – especially if President Joe Biden does tries to take into account some of their priorities included in its agenda.
Still, several democratic activists said they expect GOP candidates to attack that bind their members to Ocasio-Cortez and democratic socialist policies, whether or not their contributions are returned.
“If the Republicans beat us on AOC, they’ll do it anyway,” said a Democratic source close to the process. “You don’t care about the truth.”