Waters, seeking top panel perch, hasn’t donated to Dem campaign committee

Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), who is looking to replace Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) as the top Democrat on a powerful panel, hasn’t contributed a dime to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) this election cycle.

The dearth of donations to the DCCC could significantly hamper Waters’s goal of becoming Frank’s heir on the Financial Services Committee. 

According to the most recent DCCC dues sheet obtained by The Hill, Waters has raised only $500 for the DCCC and paid none of her dues.

The next highest-ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), has paid $73,000 in dues, raised more than $100,000 and contributed/raised more than $140,000 for endangered incumbents or candidates in the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program. Maloney represents a large chunk of Manhattan, where many wealthy Democratic donors reside.

At press time, it was unclear how much DCCC are requesting from Waters and Maloney during the 2012 cycle. In 2010, Waters’s dues level was $300,000 while Maloney’s was $250,000. Waters’s level was higher because she served, and continues to serve, as a chief deputy whip.

Waters’s lack of transfers to the DCCC is not new as she has not met her DCCC goals in recent cycles. And while that has not cost her a job as a whip, it will be a factor in whether she secures the top Democratic spot on the Financial Services Committee.

Following the 2010 election, Maloney was passed over for the top Democratic spot on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), a lower-ranking committee member who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). 

Waters, a CBC member, recently expressed her confidence that she will replace Frank during a speech to the 2012 California State Democratic Convention.

“Let me let you on a secret: I am the senior-most person serving on the Financial Services Committee. Barney Frank is about to retire, and guess who’s shaking in their boots? The too-big-to-fail banks and financial institutions and all of Wall Street because Maxine Waters is going to be the next chair of the Financial Services Committee,” she said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), Waters’s colleague in the California delegation, is expected to play a major role in deciding who will replace Frank. Throughout prior cycles and this one, Pelosi has repeatedly urged her Democratic colleagues to pony up their dues to the DCCC.

Some CBC members have balked at dues mandates, pointing out that they represent less affluent districts than other members of the House Democratic Caucus.

Waters is certainly not sitting on a large war chest. As of the latest federal filing deadline, Waters’s personal campaign account had $34,315 cash-on-hand while her political action committee (PAC) had $6,643 cash-on-hand.

Meanwhile, Maloney’s personal campaign fund had $876,400 cash-on-hand while her PAC had $39,411 cash-on-hand.

Recognizing the CBC’s concerns about dues, the DCCC has said it will recognize other ways members can pitch in to help Democrats win back the House. Yet, the dues sheet figures indicate Waters has not significantly helped the committee in ways other than direct transfers.

Waters’s bid for the top Democratic spot is also plagued by an ongoing ethics investigation looking into whether she violated House rules by arranging a meeting between Treasury Department officials and a bank in which her husband had a financial interest.

Regardless, CBC has long stressed the need for the House Democratic Caucus to weigh seniority heavily in picking chairmen and ranking members. That pressure clearly favors Waters, a liberal lawmaker who is known for speaking her mind.

Maloney has not yet indicated if she will seek the top perch on the Financial Services panel though many on Capitol Hill believe she is seriously considering a run for the post.

Waters and Maloney did not comment for this article.