Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
|Purpose||To elect Democrats to the United States House of Representatives|
|Ben Ray Luján|
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, spoken as the D triple-C or the D-trip) is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States House of Representatives, working to elect Democrats to that body. The DCCC recruits candidates, raises funds, and organizes races in districts that are expected to yield politically notable or close elections. The structure of the committee consists, essentially, of the Chairperson (who according to current Democratic Caucus rules is a fellow member of the Caucus appointed by the party leader in the House), their staff, and other Democratic members of Congress that serve in roles supporting the functions of the committee (candidate recruitment, fundraising, etc.).
The Chairperson of the DCCC is the fifth-ranking position among House Democrats, after the Minority Leader, the Minority Whip, the House Assistant Democratic Leader and the Democratic Caucus Chairperson.
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The DCCC originated in 1866 as the Democratic National Congressional Committee.
Due to the reform of campaign finance legislation that took effect in the 2004 election cycle, the DCCC splits into two organizations a few months before each Election Day:
- One organization (the "Coordinated" campaign) can continue to stay in contact with the individual congressional campaigns, offering advice and suggestions to candidates and their staffs in each race.
- The other organization (the "Independent Expenditure" campaign), which makes independent expenditures in congressional districts on behalf of the campaigns, is not allowed to coordinate activities with the campaigns.
In recent elections, the DCCC has played an expansive role in supporting Democratic candidates with independently produced television ads and mail pieces.
Rahm Emanuel assumed the position of DCCC committee chair after the death of the previous chair, Bob Matsui, at the end of the 2004 election cycle. Emanuel led the Democratic Party's effort to capture the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections. After Emanuel's election as chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Chris Van Hollen became committee chair for the 110th Congress, and thus for the 2008 elections. He continued through the 2010 elections. For the 2014 election cycle, Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed congressman Ben Ray Luján to serve as the committee's chair.
In August 2014, the DCCC said it had 444 field staff working in 48 states and planned to add 219 more by the end of August as part of its efforts to manage an expanded ground game across the nation for the 2014 midterm elections.
Controversy arose after the DCCC issued press releases on June 29 and July 2, 2012 which claimed that funds from which Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino owner, donated to the Republican Party come in part from "Chinese prostitution money". The press releases were repeating allegations from one of Adelson's former employees who filed a lawsuit and alleged that Adelson "approved of prostitution at a casino in Macau". The DCCC repeated the charges in press releases that attacked Republicans Jim Renacci, Scott DesJarlais, and Jim Gerlach.
Adelson fought back against the claims, which he called "outrageous", and filed a brief threatening a libel suit against the DCCC which demanded that the "DCCC retract the claims, apologize for them, and retain any documents associated with them in preparation for a potential lawsuit". Politifact, a nonpartisan fact checking organization, rated the DCCC's claims as "pants on fire", saying that the DCCC "seized upon [a] questionable claim, extrapolated and exaggerated it to taint all of Adelson's political donations with prostitution earnings" and then carried "that on down a convoluted line to Scott DesJarlais and talk about "his Chinese prostitution money"".
On August 2, 2012, the DCCC issued a public apology, saying:
In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused.
Hacking victimization allegations
In July 2016, the DCCC said they were hacked. Subsequently, a person described as a hacker and known as "Guccifer 2.0" (Russian Main Intelligence Directorate persona) reportedly released documents and information that were obtained from the cyberattack on the DCCC.
Criticism of primary support
Despite the DCCC's funding opposition research and spending $20,000 against activist writer Laura Moser, she reached the May 22, 2018 runoff with 24.3% of the vote after attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher's 29.3% in the seven-candidate primary in the 7th Texas Congressional District. Tom Perez, who became the chair of the Democratic National Committee after the firing of Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2016, broke ranks and criticized the DCCC's opposition to Moser.
Of the four congressional campaign committees, the DCCC, with a staff of 25, has the largest in-house research department. In a February 2012 profile of the department, Roll Call wrote that "The DCCC's team of mostly 20-somethings researches opposition targets for eight weeks at a time, scouring news clips and YouTube videos and traveling across the country to comb through public records, all in hopes of finding a good hit. Discoveries go into hundred-page research books on their targets that are used as bait to recruit candidates, leaked to reporters or cited in campaign advertisements and mail pieces."
List of chairs
- Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
- Democratic National Committee
- National Republican Congressional Committee
- National Republican Senatorial Committee
- Gonzales, Nathan. "Inside House Democrats' Expanding Ground Game". www.rollcall.com. Roll Call. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Marc, Reuel. "GOP donor Adelson threatens to sue DCCC for "Chinese prostitution" claim". WashingtonExaminer.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.[permanent dead link]
- "PolitiFact Tennessee | DCCC claims Chinese prostitution money funding DesJarlais campaign". Politifact.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "Sheldon Adelson fights back against prostitution claims - Abby Phillip". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "DCCC apologizes to Sheldon Adelson - Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Neidig, Harper (29 July 2016). "House Dem campaign arm says it was hacked". The Hill. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "Exclusive: FBI probes hacking of Democratic congressional group - sources". Reuters. 29 July 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016 – via Reuters.
- "Fundraising Nonprofit Says It Wasn't Compromised In DCCC Hack". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "Democratic Party's congressional fundraising committee was also hacked". Ars Technica. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- King, Bob; Starks, Tim (2016-07-28). "Hackers suspected in new attack on Democrats". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- Diaz, Daniella (2016-08-13). "Hacker releases cell phone numbers, personal emails of House Democrats". CNN. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- Texas Primary Election Results: Seventh House District, The New York Times, Jasmine C. Lee, Sarah Almukhtar & Matthew Bloch, March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- 2 winners and 2 losers from the 2018 Texas primary elections, Vox, Andrew Prokop, March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- DNC chair questions House campaign arm's attack on progressive candidate, The Hill, Max Greenwood, March 2, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
- "An Inside Look at the DCCC Research Department : Roll Call Politics". Rollcall.com. 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2013-09-28.