by Steven Ertelt
June 6, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The recent Supreme Court decision was supposed to be so upsetting to pro-abortion activists that leading organizations said their coffers would overflow with donations form new and old members alike. That doesn’t appear to be the case as leading abortion advocacy group Emily’s List is reporting fundraising problems.
That Emily’s List would be experiencing financial woes is somewhat surpassing because it has been the largest political action committee in the United States, including groups related to other political issues.
The group raised $46 million for candidates in 2006 but during the first four months of the year it a total of $285,000 for four campaigns. During the same time period in 2005, also a non-election year, Emily’s List took in $510,000 for three campaigns.
Some political observers say the downturn in support could be related to its February endorsement of pro-abortion New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in her bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
The Clinton endorsement is the first presidential endorsement the group has made since past Democratic nominees who backed abortion were all men and Emily’s List only supports pro-abortion Democratic women.
Donations to Emily’s List for Clinton’s presidential campaign topped their donations for all campaigns with $88,000, according to Federal Election Commission reports obtained by the news site Politico.
Clinton spokesman Blake Zeff told the news site that Emily’s List donations are not down but that many of its supporters are giving directly to the Clinton campaign. He claimed the pro-abortion group provided more than $500,000 from members who gave directly through Clinton rather than funneling their money through the organization.
However, Brad Bannon, a Democratic political consultant, told Politico he thought Emily’s List was losing its Midas touch.
"I don’t think what they’re doing in terms of fundraising is well-suited to a presidential campaign," said Bannon, who worked for a candidate who received money from the group before.
That Emily’s List outraised and outspent every other political action committee on any issue during the 2006 elections didn’t guarantee success.
Of the 19 competitive House races in which Emily’s List backed and funded a candidate, only two won. This follows on the heels of the group’s 2004 performance, in which it went three for 13 in head-to-head contests against the conservative Club for Growth.
In 2006, the only successful Emily’s List contenders for Republican seats were state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) — who was heavily favored all along to win the seat of retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe — and New York attorney Kirsten Gillibrand, who won only after the late leak of a police report alleging that Rep. John Sweeney of New York had choked his wife.
Combined Emily’s List contributions of $100,000 and independent expenditures worth $270,000 could not save the high-profile candidacies of Iraq War vet Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and child-safety advocate Patty Wetterling.
In New Mexico, Atty. Gen. Patricia Madrid (D) failed in her quest to oust perennial survivor Rep. Heather Wilson (R), despite $48,000 in contributions and $110,000 in independent expenditures from the group.
Other EMILY candidates who had high hopes — in Arizona, Washington State, Nevada, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nebraska — all lost, even as male Democrats rode the wave to victory on November 7.