Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Retiring Members of Congress Hold Over $13 Million in Campaign Accounts

The seventeen Members of Congress who have announced their retirement from Congress have campaign accounts that hold over $13 million in campaign funds. Some of these funds may be donated to charities during this holiday season, some may not.

The largest campaign fund of the announced retirees belongs to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who President Obama has announced will be nominated to be the next ambassador to China. As of the close of the last reporting period on September 30, the Baucus campaign account had $3,280,948 cash on hand.

The Federal Election Commission regulation dealing with left-over funds states the funds may be used for any lawful purpose, but they can’t be converted to personal use. Some members donate the funds to non-profit organizations, charities, educational institutions, political parties, candidates (within permitted limits), or refund contributions to the original donors.

The member could also leave the funds in the account. Former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who did not seek re-election in 2010, and is now a partner at McGuireWoods LLP, still has $9.8 million in his campaign account. Former Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., who resigned in July 2007, and is now the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, has $4.6 million in his account.

Campaign cash of announced retirees as of 9/30:
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., campaign cash $3,280,948
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, campaign cash $2,342,187
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., campaign cash $1,756,317 but debts of $58,957
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., campaign cash $1,001,273
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., campaign cash $962,241
Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, campaign cash $871,499 but debts of $21,646
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, campaign cash $678,418
Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., campaign cash $540,176
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., campaign cash $414,512
Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., campaign cash $384,029
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., campaign cash $284,771
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala,. campaign cash $207,542
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., campaign cash $177,398
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., campaign cash $133,973
Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., campaign cash $54,910
Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., campaign cash $295,784 but debts of $250,000

Several announced retirees also have funds in their leadership PACs. Currently there is no prohibition on the use of leadership PAC left-over funds for personal use. Those with more than $25,000 cash on hand include: the PAC of Sen. Tim Johnson $227,721 as of 6/30;  the PAC of Rep. Michele Bachmann $90,330 as of 6/30; the PAC of Sen. Saxby Chambliss $83,022 as of 11/5; the PAC of Rep. Michele Bachmann $90,330 as of 6/30; the PAC of Sen. Tom Harkin $27,518 as of 9/30.

Last week the Federal Election Commission agreed to recommend to Congress that the Federal Election Campaign Act’s prohibition of the personal use of campaign funds be extended to apply to all political committees, including leadership PACs.

See earlier posting on what has happened to other leftover funds.

To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.

  • dombe

    Wow, I guess I need to just run for political office and all my troubles will be over.

  • LonesomeDove

    What happens to the money when, like the two mentioned who have already retired, they just LEAVE it there? And what is to prevent them from ‘donating’ it to THEIR PAC, and then using it for personal use? This is just a crooked corrupt system we have – At the LEAST it should go to a worthy charity if not used (then they will probably try to get a tax write-off for it – most of these ‘public servants’ are millionaires who have already fleeced the system enough in percs, pensions, and lobbyist ‘gratuities’…they were supposed to serve the public – the public wasn’t supposed to serve them –

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    WHAT DO THE POOR AND UNEMPLOYED GET?? The Republicans & Democrats, have both Failed, the More Than 2.6 Million Unemployed Families, still Without an Extension Of Unemployment Benefits, since Late Last December. For the past Five And A Half Months, these families have had to face Evictions, Home foreclosures, Bankruptcy, and Homelessness, while these two political parties played “Party Politics” in the senate, Delaying and Postponing the vote. The Republicans in particular, have held the Extension Bill “Hostage” in the senate, never truly planning on passing the bill. When Billions of Tax Payer Dollars have been Approved for the Ukraine, and More spent on Military aid for Europe, the poor & Unemployed in this country are left alone to struggle and suffer economically. We have Representatives that are No Longer Representing the interests of the average American, but are answering to Corporate America and Special Interest Groups instead. These career politicians need be voted out of office in the coming election.

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