The Rise of the Money Honeys

Article excerpt

Byline: Michelle Cottle

Female fundraisers are crashing the ultimate boys' club.

The world of political fundraising just got a high-profile shot of estrogen.

July 11 brought the launch of the first-ever lesbian super PAC. Backed by celebs like actor Jane Lynch and tennis legend Billie Jean King, the group aims to raise $1 million to support candidates (of both genders) committed to LGBT rights and women's reproductive freedom. The launch sparked international buzz and prompted one Beltway blogger to cheer the entry of the "girls only" group into what is still seen as something of a boys' club. But while the same-sex angle is novel, women have long played at the highest levels of the buck-raking game. Megadonors like Foster Friess and Sheldon Adelson may get all the attention, but when it comes to the world of professional fundraising, the money machine runs on girl power.

"It's mostly women, and we all kind of joke about that," says Lisa Spies, a veteran GOP fundraiser and the finance director of Women for Romney Victory. "We're all friends with each other too," she adds. "It's a very small world."

The same is true over on the Democratic side (yes, professional fundraising is as polarized as the rest of the political world), says Bill Burton, a senior strategist with Priorities USA Action. Indeed, when the pro-Obama super PAC needed to up its fundraising prowess, Burton & Co. brought in a trio of moneywomen: Diana Rogalle, Susan Holloway Torricelli, and Kathleen Daughety. Former EMILY's List chief Ellen Malcolm is also lending a hand.

The pros tend to fly under the radar to avoid overshadowing clients. …