And if that doesn’t work Don Pelosi will leave a decapitated horse’s head in their beds.
One by one, the pictures of House members adorning the lobby of Democratic Party headquarters have come down, turning neat rows of framed photos into a disjointed mess — “splattered,” as one aide described it.
The half-dozen or so lawmakers whose mugs have vanished in recent weeks weren’t indicted in court or slapped with an ethics violation. But their transgression is still deadly serious in the eyes of top party leaders: ignoring pleas to kick in cash for Democrats’ increasingly uphill slog to take back the House.
Prying open members’ fists is an election year ritual for leaders of both parties, but Democrats contend this time around has been particularly frustrating. Facing a team of deep-pocketed Republican outside groups poised to swamp them in TV ad spending — and with the party not benefiting from the kind of wave conditions that lifted Republicans two years ago — Democrats say the stinginess of their lawmakers has left them severely weakened as the fall campaign season approaches.
Democrats say they’ve tried just about everything to get their colleagues to open their wallets. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has told members that unless they pay their dues in full, they won’t get to partake in the committee’s Democratic National Convention package, complete with access to much sought-after hotel rooms and parties. And in early June, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to shame her members into giving, distributing notes to each of them with a request for cash and asking them if they are part of “the team.”