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Rangel to Colleagues: Pony Up to DCCC

Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.) used a Caucus-wide conference call on Wednesday to pressure his House colleagues to give more money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Rangel, who himself has not met his $500,000 DCCC dues goal this cycle — contributing just $150,000 so far — said Democrats will be pointing fingers after Election Day if they lose the majority. Rangel has spent recent months battling charges of ethical wrongdoing and is set to go before an ethics subcommittee Nov. 15 when Congress returns for a lame-duck session.

Rangel told fellow Members, “If we lose, people are going to be looking for someone to blame, and I don’t want it to be my colleagues,” according to someone familiar with the call. Rangel added that senior Members who owe their fundraising prowess to their positions in the House should pay more than just their DCCC dues. “He called them out,” the source said.

Other Democrats also pushed the fundraising message.

“Everybody was talking you’ve got to do more, you’ve got to do more. … All the leadership on the call said, ‘We need money,'” the source said.

“The topic of dues was brought up by a couple of Members, but mainly it was in the context that it’s important that Members give what they can to the DCCC,” another person familiar with the call said. “It was, essentially, if you are sitting on a bunch of money, you should give what you can to the DCCC.”

Rangel’s comments followed a conversation about the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment in November.

Wednesday’s conference call came just days after an updated DCCC dues sheet started circulating that showed a host of safe lawmakers are sitting on tens of millions of dollars.

Several Members have not met their DCCC obligations this cycle. According to a Monday draft document that tracks DCCC giving obtained by Roll Call, 38 Democrats, not including the party’s most vulnerable Frontline program members, haven’t paid any dues.

Steering and Policy Co-Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (Conn.); DCCC Vice Chairmen Bruce Braley (Iowa) and Albio Sires (N.J.); and Chief Deputy Whips G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), Diana Degette (Colo.) and John Tanner (Tenn.) have not met their dues goal for the party committee.

Still, some in Democratic leadership have paid up. Committee Chairmen Howard Berman (Calif.), Robert Brady (Pa.) and Ed Markey (Mass.) all met or exceeded their DCCC goals since the previous dues sheet was released at the end of August.