Former Vice President Al Gore has agreed to donate $1 million to both Democratic Congressional campaign committees from a federal compliance account left over from his 2000 presidential effort, according to informed Democratic sources.
He is also expected to disburse several million dollars to benefit Sen. John Kerry’s (Mass.) presidential bid, although the exact form that donation will take was not clear early Wednesday. The most likely beneficiary would be the Democratic National Committee.
The money, which comes from Gore’s General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance fund, provides a major boost to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, both of which trail their Republican counterparts in the fundraising chase.
DCCC Chairman Robert Matsui (Calif.) told his Caucus of the financial windfall Wednesday morning.
At the end of March, Gore had $6.6 million on hand in the GELAC fund, which was formed during the 2000 presidential race.
Although both Gore and George W. Bush accepted public financing for the general election campaign in 2000, the FEC allows the formation of GELAC committees to defray the legal costs of spending the roughly $70 million given to each candidate.
The money left in the account is considered excess campaign funds by the Federal Election Commission and therefore can be transferred in unlimited amounts to national party committees.
Since the start of 2001, Gore has transferred $1.9 million to his presidential account for “wind down expenses.” He also gave the Tennessee Democratic Party $450,000 last summer, the only contribution to anyone other than himself that Gore has made from the account.
He rejected a request earlier in the year from the DCCC for a portion of the funds, saying that he was focused on the presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), whom he endorsed in the primary process.
On the House side, the National Republican Congressional Committee had $16 million in the bank at the end of March to the DCCC’s $12 million.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee had nearly $10 million more on hand than its Democratic counterparts through March.