Rep. Henry Waxman Is Retiring With $750,000 in the Bank

The outgoing lawmaker will soon be able to dole out some cash to friends and allies.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) speaks during a news conference about preserving Medicaid funding during the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill December 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Democratic legislators from the Senate and House were joined by representatives from major unions and policy organizations in calling on the White House and Congressional negotiators to protect funding for Medicaid, a health program for people and families with low incomes and resources. 
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
Add to Briefcase
Shane Goldmacher
Feb. 5, 2014, 7:36 a.m.

Rep. Henry Wax­man may be re­tir­ing, but a blitz of fourth-quarter fun­drais­ing en­sures that he’ll leave of­fice atop a pile of cam­paign cash.

In the last quarter of 2013, Wax­man out­paced more than 90 per­cent of his House col­leagues as he raised $371,347. It was the Cali­for­nia Demo­crat’s biggest fun­drais­ing quarter of the year, and it left him with $757,269 in the bank.

Now that he’s leav­ing Con­gress, Wax­man won’t have to spend any of that money on cam­paign­ing. In­stead, he is free to use the ac­count as a polit­ic­al piggy bank to dole out cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions to friends and al­lies on Cap­it­ol Hill after he leaves of­fice.

Such an ac­count could prove es­pe­cially use­ful if Wax­man, 74, de­camps to K Street, as so many of his pre­de­cessors have, where his former col­leagues will al­most cer­tainly dial him up for dona­tions.

There is noth­ing il­leg­al about Wax­man va­cu­um­ing up cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions be­fore head­ing for the exit. He fol­lows in the foot­steps of many oth­ers, most not­ably former Demo­crat­ic Sen. Evan Bayh, who left of­fice in 2010 with a $10 mil­lion cam­paign treas­ury.

After 40 years in Con­gress, in which Wax­man has been one of the most ef­fect­ive lib­er­al le­gis­lat­ors of the mod­ern era, he is not in­de­pend­ently wealthy. He ranked as the 187th richest law­maker in the House in 2012, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spons­ive Polit­ics, with a net worth between $667,000 and $1.7 mil­lion.

Wax­man has not said ex­actly when he de­cided to re­tire, and his of­fice did not re­turn a call for com­ment Wed­nes­day. Among his fourth-quarter donors were bil­lion­aire me­dia mogul Haim Saban and his wife ($10,400), former Los Angeles Deputy May­or Aus­tin Beut­ner ($5,200), in­vestor Marc Nath­an­son ($5,200) and busi­ness­wo­man Lynda Res­nick ($5,200). Wax­man also tapped polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tees of Boe­ing, Uni­vi­sion, Blue Shield, Ve­r­i­zon, and the Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees In­ter­na­tion­al Uni­on, among oth­ers, for $5,000 apiece.

His fourth-quarter haul — only two dozen or so House mem­bers raised more — wasn’t just his biggest of 2013, it was nearly as much as his total in all of 2011, his last nonelec­tion year, when he col­lec­ted $388,990 (of which $199, 242 was in the fourth quarter). Wax­man’s 2012 elec­tion, in which he was chal­lenged by a wealthy in­de­pend­ent op­pon­ent, was his toughest fight in dec­ades.

Wax­man told the Los Angeles TimesDoyle Mc­Manus that not hav­ing to ask for money any­more would be one of the be­ne­fits of re­tire­ment.

“Now I don’t have to spend any time rais­ing money,” he said. Mc­Manus re­por­ted Wax­man said so with a broad grin.

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