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Early in Cycle, Israel Pays Full Party Dues

Heeding party calls to get Members to pay their party dues early and in full, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) will write a check for $150,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Wednesday.

Israel will meet his entire party dues obligation with one contribution — a rare move in the third month of two-year election period. The New York lawmaker, who sits on the exclusive Financial Services Committee, paid $140,000 in dues over the course of the 2002-04 cycle, surpassing his $100,000 requirement.

The Congressman began 2005 with $688,000 in his campaign account, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.

Israel said he’s paying the dues now because he believes Democrats have a good shot at winning a majority in 2006. He explained that it is critical for Members to show their commitment to winning — even in March of a non-election year.

“I think we have an obligation to let every potential Democratic candidate who is being recruited to run in ’06 know we are serious and that there is early money,” Israel said. “I’m hoping that by paying my dues up front, my colleagues will do the same.”

DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) has been encouraging Members to pay a portion of their dues in advance of the March 31 Federal Election Commission filing deadline. House leaders often make a push for Member contributions before the end of each quarter.

“We are very pleased with the leadership Congressman Israel has exhibited by already paying his entire dues for the 2006 cycle,” said Greg Speed, spokesman for the DCCC.

Israel, who won his third term with 66 percent of the vote in November, acknowledged that as a candidate it is always risky to part with a large amount of money. But he said Democrats have to take risks if they want to win a majority.

“I can’t win 435 seats, but I can come up with $150,000 to do my part,” Israel said. “I’m going to pay my dues up front, and I will be working very hard with those of my colleagues who have a similar capacity to pay dues to do the same.”

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