Heller not making most of committee (for politics)

U.S. Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada is not making the most of his seat on the House budget committee to raise campaign money.

So claims Congressional Quarterly, a publication that covers the federal government and politics. The magazine quoted a “congressional insider” to the effect that whether members of the committee—officially known as Ways and Means—use their seats to attract campaign contributions is a way to tell who the “real rising stars” are, compared to those “who got on a top-tier committee and set it on auto pilot.”

“Eight of the 11 new Ways and Means members received more PAC contributions in the first nine months of 2009 than they did during the same time period in 2007,” CQ reported. “Those new committee members who saw a drop-off in fundraising compared with the 2008 cycle include Democratic Reps. Bob Etheridge of North Carolina and John Yarmuth of Kentucky, and Republican Reps. Geoff Davis of Kentucky, Dean Heller of Nevada and Peter Roskam of Illinois. … Heller and Yarmuth saw a $247,000 and $168,000 drop, respectively, while Etheridge and Roskam each saw a decline of less than $20,000.”

The magazine called Heller’s 2008 race for reelection the “most competitive” of the group, though in fact Heller won in a landslide of 10.3 percent over Democrat Jill Derby, winning a majority even in the five-candidate race. His margin over Derby was nearly double his 5.4 margin over Derby in the 2006 election.

CQ did not offer any assessment of Heller’s performance on the committee, only of his political fundraising.