Why the chairmen aren't giving

In today's paper, my colleague Jared Allen runs down some DCCC dues deadbeats -- including several chairmen.

Chairmen who are running behind include Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), David Obey (D-Wis.), Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Ed Towns (D-N.Y.).

The problem for many of these highest-of-the-high dues payers is that they have reason to fear for their own reelections. In fact, about one-third of Democrats' 20 standing committee chairmen have, at the very least, reason for some pause when shelling out their campaign funds.

Rangel faces a primary amidst his ethical troubles, and Towns narrowly survived his own primary in 2006.

Obey and Skelton both face challengers who are part of the NRCC's Young Guns program, as does another chairman, Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.).

And Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, is the next major Democrat in line for a tough challenge, by many accounts.

The GOP has already chased one chairman, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) out the door. By signing up challengers to the others -- including several big-time chairmen who pay big-time dues -- they are at the least preventing those chairmen from spreading their wealth to other candidates.