Eshoo Raises Money From Tech Industry Ahead of Ranking-Member Battle With Pallone

Ranking member rivals Eshoo and Pallone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Ranking member rivals Eshoo and Pallone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:09am

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo’s leadership political action committee raised $203,000 — mostly from high-tech and telecommunication firms — as she bids to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the first leadership PAC of the California Democrat’s nearly 22-year congressional career. First-quarter numbers for Eshoo’s main rival for the post , Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., were not yet available.  

The burgeoning war chest provides leverage for Eshoo in the closely-contested ranking member race
to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., when the new Congress convenes.  

Eshoo’s PAC was bolstered by contributions from the PACs of some powerful industry players who could come before the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and NBC Universal, Google and Microsoft.  

Leadership PACS are not just about receiving money, but about being able to spend cash, too, specifically in support of colleagues whose relationships could be professionally beneficial.  

In her quarterly report, Eshoo revealed that she made donations to a number of her colleagues, including many in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. Members who received donations from Eshoo’s PAC include Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, Raul Ruiz of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Ami Bera of California.  

Many of the other recipients of Eshoo’s disbursements were present at her PAC’s kickoff event in early March, according to a partial guest list obtained by CQ Roll Call. At the time it was called Anna PAC — she had to change it to Peninsula PAC this month after the Federal Election Commission ruled she couldn’t raise money through an entity bearing her name.  

Update 2:50 p.m. An April 9 Peninsula PAC fundraising event with a $50 per person pricetag at We, The Pizza on Capitol Hill was hosted by former Google lobbyist Alan Davidson, Jessica Gonzalez of the the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Julie Samuels of Engine Advocacy, Twitter’s Colin Crowell, Gene Kimmelman and Chris Lewis of Public Knowledge, Earthlink’s Chris Murray and Andy Schwartzman of the Institute for Public Representation.  

Peninsula PAC was required to file with the FEC by the April 15 quarterly deadline. Pallone’s leadership PAC, known as Shore PAC, has until April 20 to submit receipts and disbursements for the first quarter.  

In an FEC filing from March, Pallone’s Shore PAC cut $1,000 checks to several Frontliners, including longtime Georgia Rep. John Barrow, an always-vulnerable member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition who has also been a strong supporter of Pallone’s Energy and Commerce bid from the beginning.  

Prior to her filing on Tuesday with the FEC, Eshoo could already boast endorsements from the House’s top Democrat, fellow Californian and close friend, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , as well as from House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, also of New York. A roster of 10 freshmen recently penned a “dear colleague” letter of endorsement.  

Pallone late last week was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by several members of the Congressional Black Caucus. According to a source familiar with the event, hosts included Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., a senior member of Energy and Commerce Committee who has just returned to work after a leave of absence to care for his sick wife, along with former CBC chairman Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.  

Pallone also has the backing of Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., in part because he’s the No. 3 Democrat on the powerful committee in a House Democratic Caucus that gives significant deference to seniority when doling out plum assignments.  

But Eshoo, the fifth most senior Democrat, is steadily building up her own groundswell of support from Democrats who say seniority shouldn’t be the only factor in the decision.  

Correction 2:50 p.m. An earlier version of this post misstated how long Eshoo has served in the House.  

Emily Cahn and Abby Livingston contributed to this report.