Rep. Weiner's failure to pay party dues may haunt him

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has failed to help his party financially in past election cycles, which is another infraction on the growing list of Democratic grievances with the lawmaker.

Weiner is known as a lone wolf in the Democratic caucus and has a history of failing to pay his dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Members are required to contribute based on a scale taking into account factors like time in Congress, whether a member is in leadership and the lawmaker's campaign needs.

Failure to pay greatly annoys the party's leadership, which counts on the funds to help members and candidates in tough races.

Weiner, now a seven-term incumbent, has been assessed $200,000 in dues for at least the last two election cycles, according to DCCC dues sheets provided to The Hill.

In 2010, as his party was bracing for a GOP wave, Weiner had paid only $15,000 by mid-September and he’d raised only about $56,000 for the committee out of his required $250,000. Weiner did, however, bring in almost $200,000 for members in the Democrats' endangered incumbents' program.

But Democratic strategists scoffed at his contribution considering how safe his district is – Weiner was reelected to his Queens seat with 61 percent of the vote last November when Democrats lost a staggering six seats in New York.

"Unlike his fellow sex fiends, former [National Republican Senate Campaign] Chair [John] Ensign and [Republican Governors Association] Chair [Mark] Sanford, Weiner has never really been a team player who looked out for the party,” one Democratic political consultant said on the condition of anonymity.

During the 2008 campaign cycle, Weiner paid less than half the dues he was assessed. He owed $200,000 in dues, according to a DCCC document, but paid only $75,000. His failure to meet his requirements was considered even more gauche because he didn’t face a serious opponent and went on to win reelection with 93 percent of the vote.

That failure to be a team player for House Democrats is now coming back to haunt Weiner as he faces increasing pressure to resign.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has asked the Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner broke House rules by carrying on sexually explicit exchanges with several women over social networking sites. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) echoed her call.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), the head of recruiting at the DCCC, said Weiner's "offensive" behavior makes him unfit to remain in office.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign," she said in a statement Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said Weiner should "call somebody else" for advice on the matter and two top Democrats have called for his resignation.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine called Weiner’s original denials about the incident "unforgivable."
 
"Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable and he should resign," Kaine, who is running for Senate in Virginia, told the Charlottesville CBS affiliate on Tuesday.

And Sen. Mark Pryor  (D-Ark.) said on Wednesday "at this point it would probably be a good thing if he would ahead and resign."

Those Democrats who didn't call for his resignation offered statements that gave little comfort or support.

"This is an unfortunate situation that I hope can be resolved with speed and clarity," Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat, told The Hill Tuesday.

--Mike Lillis and Daniel Strauss contributed.