Murray fundraising down since appointment
Campaign contributions to Sen. Patty Murray all but dried up during this summer, a period that coincided with her appointment to a powerful congressional deficit-reduction panel and criticisms about potential conflicts of interest with her fundraising.
Seattle Times Washington bureau
WASHINGTON — The flow of campaign cash to Sen. Patty Murray all but dried up this summer, a period that coincided with her appointment to a powerful congressional deficit-reduction panel and criticisms about potential conflicts of interest with her fundraising.
Murray added less than $31,000 to her re-election account during the three months ended Sept. 30. That was a sharp reversal from the first half of this year, when her campaign raised $115,000 and $223,000 in the first and second quarters, respectively.
Murray, a four-term Washington Democrat, is co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, a bipartisan panel that is racing against a Nov. 23 deadline to agree on a plan to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over a decade.
Her appointment on Aug. 9 immediately drew widespread concerns that Murray's current role as chief fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) could compromise her judgment on issues important to donors.
Murray declined to temporarily halt DSCC fundraising, which will be used to bolster Democrats on the ballot in 2012.
In July, before Murray joined the deficit panel, the DSCC raised $2.74 million, with $335,000 of that from political action committees (PACs). In August, including three weeks after Murray's appointment, contributions totaled $2.37 million, with $205,000 of that from PACs. September's tally is due Thursday.
It's unclear whether Murray deliberately slowed down her fundraising for her campaign or the Democratic committee. Her office declined to comment.
New fundraising reports show committee members raised a collective $3.4 million during the third quarter, The Washington Post reported. Fundraising was down for most of the members, but all of them accepted some campaign money between July and September.
Among the six Republican and six Democratic members of the deficit committee, only Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said midway through the quarter that he would stop fundraising. Unlike all six House members on the committee, none of the six senators are up for re-election next year.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Murray's co-chair on the deficit panel, raised $471,000 during the third quarter. Rep. Dave Camp, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, took in $705,000 — $90,000 of which came from PACs, including those representing health-care interests with stakes in the deficit debate — in the six weeks after he was named to the panel.
Kyung Song: 202-662-7455 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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