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Patricia O'Connell
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Wiley Rein’s Michael Toner Discusses DNC’s Financial Challenges

The Washington Times
October 8, 2013

Michael E. Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted in the October 3rd edition of The Washington Times about the fundraising struggles of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Organizing for America (OFA), a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to promoting President Obama’s policy agenda, has made it difficult for the DNC to attract donors and pay off the debts that the DNC incurred for the 2012 presidential election. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 15 of the top 24 contributors to OFA have not donated to the DNC since March or earlier.  With over $18 million in debts outstanding, the DNC has not been able to build a financial war chest for the 2014 mid-term elections.

Mr. Toner, a former Federal Election Commission chairman, said the DNC’s troubles can be traced back to fundraising competition with OFA.  “DNC fundraising has been hurt by the OFA, there’s no question about it,” he told The Washington Times, adding that the DNC’s debt could increase in the future if the trend continues.

Mr. Toner suggested that the DNC will need to rely on Mr. Obama’s help to retire the debt and replenish its reserves. In this year alone, President Obama has hosted 15 fundraising events for the DNC.  “Their saving grace is having a sitting president and the ability to have him host big fundraisers for them,” Mr. Toner said.  “That gives the DNC an opportunity to pare down its debt in the months ahead.”