Via HowieInSeattle, The Hill reports today, “Three top fundraisers at the Democratic National Committee have resigned at a time when its chairman, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, has come under fire from fellow Democrats for controversial comments and his Republican counterpart has raised more than twice as much money.”

Democratic sources link the resignations to Dean’s decision to focus on raising money in small increments through the Internet, as he did during his 2004 presidential bid, and building up the party’s grassroots infrastructure while paying little attention to major Democratic donors. But other Democrats say the first several months after a party’s losing presidential campaign are naturally a time of transition and it will take time for committee officials to get their “sea legs.” Dean’s defenders also note that DNC fundraising is ahead of where it was at this point after the last presidential election, when Democrats could still raise unlimited amounts of soft money.

More below + my comments:

The committee’s finance directors for the two biggest hubs of Democratic fundraising have quit. Bridget Siegel, finance director for New York and the surrounding area, resigned last week, and Lori Kreloff, finance director for California, left the committee last month.

A third top DNC fundraiser, Nancy Eiring, the director of grassroots fundraising, has also resigned, citing strategic differences with aides to Dean, according to a report yesterday in ABC News’ “The Note.”
Siegel told The Hill that she remained at the DNC for the first few months of the year only to help with the transition to leadership under a new chairman and that “Dean is moving the party in a great direction.” Siegel will raise money for Andrew Cuomo’s race for New York attorney general.

Kreloff has set up her own consulting firm, LBK Consulting Inc., and has signed on Maryland Senate hopeful Rep. Ben Cardin (D) as a new client. She said Dean is “doing a wonderful job building the grassroots.”

Eiring did not return a call for comment.

Democratic fundraisers say that there is growing concern over what they call Dean’s lack of attention to major donors and that donors are much less likely to give money if they don’t have sufficient opportunity to meet with the party’s leadership.

“When you don’t have the chairman to fundraise with, or any principals of the leadership, you can’t get major donors to help you,” a veteran Democratic fundraiser said. “You want the leaders of the party to sit down with them so they can discuss their plan.”

“It’s frustrating to be the staff person in charge of that group,” the fundraiser said. “No one wants to stay in a job in which they’re not successful.” The fundraiser added that New York is a competitive place to raise money and that donors often demand detailed explanations of how the money will be spent.

I always said that they put Dean in charge of the DNC to placate party activists like you and me. I.e., his election wasn’t the result of a sincere desire to work with Dean in Dean’s own way. It was to string us along.

These criticisms might be valid. I don’t know. What do YOU think?

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