WASHINGTON • Some ex-politicians put their money where there mouths once were.
After spending careers raising money to finance their own campaigns, retired members of Congress from the St. Louis region have been active donors in the 2014 elections, with seven contributing almost $70,000 combined from their own pockets as of Oct. 1. While most toe party lines, former Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican, has given to both Republicans and Democrats.
According to reports through September at the Federal Election Commission and analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics, former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt has given more than $23,000 to fellow Democrats in this election cycle, through September.
Gephardt gave $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $2,600 to California congressional candidate Ted Lieu, a Democrat. Gephardt gave $500 each to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Texas; and Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass.
Ex-Missouri Sen. John Danforth, a Republican, gave Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., $2,600. Danforth also gave $5,200 to Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, and $1,000 apiece to Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; and to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Former Sen. Jim Talent, another Republican, gave $1,000 each to McConnell, Collins, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Talent also gave $1,500 to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (even though Blunt is not up for re-election until 2016) and $500 to Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who lost a U.S. Senate primary in his state.
Ex-Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, a Republican, gave McConnell $2,000 and Blunt and Collins $1,000 apiece.
Former Senator and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, a Republican, gave $1,000 to the Missouri Republican Party.
Former Illinois Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican, gave Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, a Republican, $5,200; and $1,000 apiece to Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., $1,000, who also is not up for re-election, and to the leadership political action committee of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Fitzgerald also gave $2,500 to the Republican National Committee, and $2,000 to Alex Mooney, a Republican candidate for Congress in West Virginia.
Emerson, a Republican who left Congress in 2013 to become the president and chief executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, gave $2,600 to the aforementioned Jason Smith. Emerson contributed $1,000 apiece to Luetkemeyer and Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.; Mike Simpson, R-Idaho; and David Valadao, R-Calif. Emerson gave $500 to Kingston.
Emerson gave to four Democrats $1,000 each to Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis; and Michigan House candidate Debbie Dingell. Emerson gave $500 apiece to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; and Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass.
While in Congress, Emerson co-chaired the House Hunger Caucus with McGovern. And, like Emerson did with her late husband, Bill, Dingell is trying to succeed her husband, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who is retiring.