Will Contributions Become an Issue?

Tom Reed's campaign has a press release out dinging Eric Massa for taking corporate PAC money. Reed's point is that Massa's a hypocrite since he pledged not to take PAC money in his first two races. Also, though Massa often claims that he's not popular with his party's leadership, Reed says that donations from Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and others prove the opposite.

I predict that neither of these issues will have traction in the 2010 campaign.

Unless you can tie a campaign contribution to a specific bad act ("pay for play"), voters don't seem to care much about where a politician's money comes from. More importantly, if Reed plans to run a real campaign, he's also going to take some corporate PAC money, so he'll be open to the same charge of hypocrisy that he's leveling at Massa.

Nancy Pelosi didn't give Eric Massa money because he's her favorite. Pelosi could well be quite irritated with Massa, who has voted against his party at a couple of important floor votes. But Nancy Pelosi would rather be pissed at Massa than lose her position as Speaker, so she and the rest of her leadership group will be throwing money towards all of the Representatives in tight races.

The fact that Massa can get money from Pelosi without bending to her will is another benefit of living in a contested district -- a Member of Congress facing a tight race is more likely to vote with his district than with his leadership. It's the complacent safe-seat Member who tends to kow-tow to leaders in order to curry favor.

Reed's press release is included after the break:


Congressional candidate Corning Mayor Tom Reed today decried Eric J.J. Massa’s flip flop on accepting corporate PAC money. Massa’s most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission showed that he has accepted more than $133,000 from corporate PACs from the insurance, health care, and banking industries since taking office.

“It is well documented that during his 2008 campaign Eric Massa said very clearly that he would not accept corporate PAC money,” Reed said. “Then he went to Washington and literally immediately began playing the political game in accepting corporate donations. The troubling thing is how quickly he went back on his word. Only nine months into his term he has collected more than $133,000 from corporate PACs.”

“This isn’t about him getting money from banking, insurance and health care PACs,” Reed explained. “It’s about Congressman Massa telling us here at home that he would not accept corporate money and then going to Washington with his hand out to them. Eric Massa is another sad case of the politician saying one thing at home and doing the opposite in Washington.”
Overall, Massa has accepted more than $819,000 from PACs since he was elected, with labor organizations and left wing ideological PACs making up most of the $686,000 that was not corporate PAC money.

Prominent Democratic Party leaders such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($4,000), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ($4,000), Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel ($2,000), and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel ($2,000) made contributions to Congressman Massa, who also collected tens of thousands from other congressional Democrats and national Democratic organizations. “So much for Massa telling everyone that Democratic leadership is upset with him,” Reed said of the money from Democratic leaders.


Massa accepts a lot of support from Mike Reynolds, a Pittsford Democrat and a Rochester slumlord, perchance at their worst. If I were running, I wouldn't want money from the Mafia, and I wouldn't want support from Mike Reynolds.