BusinessWeek reporters Eamon Javers and Richard Dunham baselessly asserted in a June 6 article that Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean is not an effective fund-raiser, a claim that Fox News hosts Brit Hume and John Gibson echoed. But in making this claim, Javers and Dunham simply compared DNC fund-raising with money raised this year by the Republican National Committee (RNC), rather than comparing fund-raising by the Dean-led DNC this year with that of the DNC in 2003, the most recent election off-year.
Javers and Dunham began their analysis noting that "[a]fter achieving money parity with the GOP in 2004, Democrats have fallen far behind." But this creates a flawed standard to evaluate Dean's success, as 2004 was the first time in history that Democrats had achieved such a feat. Noting that the DNC raised $14.1 million in the first quarter of 2005 compared to $32.3 million by the RNC, they concluded that "Dean may yet find ways to build bridges to reluctant donors, but few think he'll ever be another [preceding DNC chair] Terry McAuliffe, the human money machine whom he replaced."
But a comparison of Dean's first three months as chairman shows that he has actually out-raised his predecessor during the same period in 2003. Dean raised $14.8 million between February and April (the latest data available), versus $8.5 million during that period in 2003, the previous non-election year. Additionally, the DNC has raised more in comparison to the RNC over the past three months than it did during 2003. The RNC raised $32.4 million between February and April, about 2.2 times the rate of the Democrats. Over the same period in 2003 the RNC raised $25.7 million, more than three times the rate of the DNC. Media Matters is citing statistics from February through April, rather than the first-quarter statistics that BusinessWeek used, because Dean did not assume leadership of the DNC until February 12.
Javers and Dunham also noted the "bottom line" that Republicans had $26.2 million in the bank vs. $7.2 million for the Democrats at the end of the first quarter this year, failing to note that this is nearly double the $3.9 million the DNC had on hand at the end of the first quarter in 2003.
The BusinessWeek article was cited by host Brit Hume in the "Political Grapevine" segment of the June 2 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume and by host John Gibson on Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson as part of a June 2 interview with Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh and Republican strategist Brad Blakeman.