Democratic National Committee

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Democratic National Committee
Founded 1848
Headquarters Washington, D.C., U.S.
Key people
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman
Amy Dacey, Executive Director
Andrew Tobias, Treasurer
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day-to-day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support of Democratic Party candidates, and not on public policy. The DNC was established at the 1848 Democratic National Convention.[1]

The Democratic National Committee provides national leadership for the Democratic Party of the United States. It is responsible for promoting the Democratic political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. Shortly after his inauguration, Barack Obama transferred his Obama For America organization to the DNC, along with its 13 million person email list, as restrictions prevented him from taking it with him to the White House.[2] Renamed Organizing For America, the organization also controls the domain and website and is expected to work closely with Obama's New Media Director Macon Phillips, who will manage the – formerly – website, though Phillips' duties technically fall under the White House umbrella, not the DNC.[3]

The DNC's main counterpart is the Republican National Committee.

Campaign role

The DNC is responsible for articulating and promoting the Democratic platform and coordinating party organizational activity. When the President is a Democrat, the party generally works closely with the President. In presidential elections it supervises the national convention and, both independently and in coordination with the presidential candidate, raises funds, commissions polls, and coordinates campaign strategy. Following the selection of a party nominee, the public funding laws permit the national party to coordinate certain expenditures with the nominee, but additional funds are spent on general, party-building activities.[4] There are state committees in every state, as well as local committees in most cities, wards, and towns (and, in most states, counties).

The chairperson of the DNC (currently U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida) is elected by vote of members of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party Committee, two hundred members apportioned among the states based on population and generally elected either on the ballot by primary voters or by the State Democratic Party Committee, a number of elected officials serving in an ex-officio capacity, and a variety of representatives of major Democratic Party constituencies.

Chicago delegation to the January 8, 1912 Democratic National Committee

The DNC establishes rules for the caucuses and primaries which choose delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but the caucuses and primaries themselves are most often run not by the DNC but instead by each state. All DNC members are superdelegates (i.e. unpledged delegates) to the Democratic National Convention and can influence a close Presidential race. Outside of the process of nominating a Presidential candidate, the DNC's role in actually selecting candidates to run on the Democratic Party ticket is minimal.

The chairperson is a superdelegate for life.

DNC fund-raising

In the 2001–2005 election cycle, the DNC and its affiliated committees (which includes numerous local committees and committees formed to coordinate expenditures for specific districts or races) raised a total of US $162,062,084, 42% of which was hard money. The largest contributor, with US $9,280,000 was the Saban Capital Group, founded in 2001 by Haim Saban, who also founded Fox Family group. Fred Eychaner, the owner of Newsweb Corporation, gave the second highest amount of money to the DNC and its affiliates, US $7,390,000. The third largest contributor was Steve Bing of Shangri-La Entertainment, who gave US $6,700,000.[5]

In 2006, the DNC raised a total of US $61,141,823, all of it hard money. Most contributions came from small donors, giving less than $250, who accounted for over 80% of total dollars raised in the first half of 2006.[citation needed] The three largest individual contributors were law firm Hill Wallack ($100,000), development firm Jonathan Rose & Co. ($100,000), and investment firm Bain Capital ($53,400).[6]

The DNC also relies on the monthly contributions of over 35,000 small-dollar donors through what is known as the Democracy Bonds program, set up by Howard Dean in the summer of 2005.[7]

In 2002, the Federal Election Commission fined the Democratic National Committee $115,000 for its part in fundraising violations in 1996.[8]

In June 2008, after Senator Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Dean announced that the DNC, emulating the Obama campaign, would no longer accept donations from federal lobbyists.[9]

Current DNC leadership

In addition, a National Advisory Board exists for purposes of fundraising and advising the executive. The present chair is Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.

DNC National Chairpersons

Chairperson Term State[13]
Benjamin F. Hallett 1848–1852 Massachusetts
Robert Milligan McLane 1852–1856 Maryland
David Allen Smalley 1856–1860 Vermont
August Belmont 1860–1872 New York
Augustus Schell 1872–1876 New York
Abram Stevens Hewitt 1876–1877 New York
William H. Barnum 1877–1889 Connecticut
Calvin Stewart Brice 1889–1892 Ohio
William F. Harrity 1892–1896 Pennsylvania
James K. Jones 1896–1904 Arkansas
Thomas Taggart 1904–1908 Indiana
Norman E. Mack 1908–1912 New York
William F. McCombs 1912–1916 New York
Vance C. McCormick 1916–1919 Pennsylvania
Homer S. Cummings 1919–1920 Connecticut
George White 1920–1921 Ohio
Cordell Hull 1921–1924 Tennessee
Clem L. Shaver 1924–1928 West Virginia
John J. Raskob 1928–1932 New York
James A. Farley 1932–1940 New York
Edward J. Flynn 1940–1943 New York
Frank C. Walker 1943–1944 Pennsylvania
Robert E. Hannegan 1944–1947 Missouri
J. Howard McGrath 1947–1949 Rhode Island
William M. Boyle 1949–1951 Missouri
Frank E. McKinney 1951–1952 Indiana
Stephen Mitchell 1952–1955 Illinois
Paul M. Butler 1955–1960 Indiana
Henry M. Jackson 1960–1961 Washington
John Moran Bailey 1961–1968 Connecticut
Larry O'Brien 1968–1969 Massachusetts
Fred R. Harris 1969–1970 Oklahoma
Larry O'Brien 1970–1972 Massachusetts
Jean Westwood 1972 Utah
Robert S. Strauss 1972–1977 Texas
Kenneth M. Curtis 1977–1978 Maine
John C. White 1978–1981 Texas
Charles Taylor Manatt 1981–1985 California
Paul G. Kirk 1985–1989 Massachusetts
Ron Brown 1989–1993 New York
David Wilhelm 1993–1994 Ohio
Debra DeLee 1994–1995 Massachusetts
Chris Dodd1 1995–1997 Connecticut
Donald Fowler 1995–1997 South Carolina
Roy Romer1 1997–1999 Colorado
Steven Grossman 1997–1999 Massachusetts
Ed Rendell1 1999–2001 Pennsylvania
Joseph Andrew 1999–2001 Indiana
Terry McAuliffe 2001–2005 Virginia
Howard Dean 2005–2009 Vermont
Tim Kaine 2009–2011 Virginia
Debbie Wasserman Schultz 2011–present[14] Florida
1 General Chairperson

List from


  1. Party History. Retrieved February 17, 2007. Archived November 4, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Melding Obama's Web to a YouTube Presidency – New York Times
  3. New York Times Source
  4. "Public Funding of Presidential Elections". Federal Election Commission. February 2005. Retrieved October 29, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Top Soft Money Donors: 2002 Election Cycle. Retrieved February 17, 2007. Archived August 30, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  6. 2006 Top Contributors: Democratic National Committee. Retrieved February 17, 2007. Archived September 28, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. 2006 Democracy Bonds. Retrieved on August 2, 2007. Archived August 13, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "DNC fined for illegal 1996 fund raising"[dead link],, September 23, 2002.
  9. Rhee, Foon (June 5, 2008). "DNC bars Washington lobbyist money". The Boston Globe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Democratic National Committee (January 22, 2013). "Democratic National Committee Elects New Officers at Meeting in Washington Today". Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. John Fritze (January 21, 2013). "Rawlings-Blake to take leadership post at DNC". Retrieved January 22, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Katie Glueck (August 12, 2013). "Mo Elleithee to become DNC communications director". Politico. Retrieved September 27, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Lawrence Kestenbaum. "A Database of Historic Cemeteries". The Political Graveyard web site. Retrieved December 29, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Joshua Cohen (May 4, 2011). "Breaking News: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Elected DNC Chair". Retrieved August 20, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]

External links