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concluded.) DAVE COOK: Good morning all. Thanks for coming. [AUDIO DIFFICULTIES] CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Congressional Campaign Committee, and given that introduction, I should say that I have said that Day 1, and I think all of you know this, that this is going to be a very challenging cycle for Democrats for a number of reasons, and of course the tens of millions of dollars of secret money that's being dumped into campaigns around the country has made that even more challenging. But all that money also serves to reinforce our essential message about this campaign, and the choice that is being faced by the voters, and the choice is pretty clear. Do we continue with Congress and the policies that are designed to protect middle class Americans and protect consumers and taxpayers and workers, or do we go back to a set of policies where the special interests, big money special interests, have free reign, and where Congress is essentially the play thing of the big money special interests. The last 20 months, we've seen the power of those special interests reigned in considerably. If you take a look at the menu, we've passed Wall Street reform to make, hold Wall Street accountable after the big bubble burst, as a result of reckless bets that they made at the expense of the American taxpayers and American workers. We've passed legislation to say that health insurance companies no longer could discriminate against kids because they have diabetes or asthma or other pre-existing conditions. We passed legislation to provide greater access to students, to affordable education, by saying that we're no longer going to take taxpayer money and run them through big banks that end up taking a big cut of the money for very little risk. So we provided more funds to students so they could afford college. The President held BP accountable for paying for the mess that they created in the Gulf, despite the fact that you had Joe Barton, who would be the Republican chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, if the Republicans were to take control of the House, despite the fact that he was apologizing to BP. And we have passed legislation to finally begin to take away some of these subsidies that go to multinational corporations for outsourcing American jobs, subsidies that actually made offshoring jobs pay, and we began to take those away. So in the last 20 months, very powerful special interests in this country have seen their power diminish. They had their wings clipped a little bit, and it's very clear they're fighting back. I mean they're fighting back by dumping tens of billions of dollars into races around the country. They want a policy that will add $700 billion to the deficit and blow a hole in our budget, at the expense of our kids and grandkids, just so that they can provide tax breaks to the folks at the very top. By the way, under their definition of small business, that includes big Washington lobbying firms. That includes some Fortune 100 companies. That includes hedge funds. So all these guys, these interests, I mean they're out to buy a Congress that will do their bidding, and the stakes are very high. We believe and we think that the evidence shows that that message is breaking through, that the American people do not want a Congress and a Congressman that is going to be the handmaiden of big money special interests. Right before our eyes, we see a blatant attempt by these special interests to purchase a Congress that will serve the interests of these big money special interests, at the expense of the rest of the country. Let me just mention a couple of -- well, let me just give some brief examples before I start. 60 Plus. 60 Plus is an organization that we know is funded primarily by health insurance companies, although their contributors are secret. But based on the information we have, that's the case. They obviously were unhappy that the health insurance bill reigned in their power to discriminate against kids, their power to terminate policies for people when they get sick. They would also make billions of dollars if the Republicans adopted the budget plan that they voted on just last year, to privatize Medicare. This is not a theoretical conversation. The budget that the Republicans voted on in the House last year contained the Ryan proposal to cut Medicare by 75 percent over a period of time, to eliminate the guaranteed benefit, to turn it into a voucher program, and to let seniors be on their own. Well that would benefit the folks who are financing 60 Plus, but it certainly would not benefit American seniors. We learned just yesterday from the chief actuary of Social Security that the plan to privatize Social Security would significantly reduce the benefits of American seniors, and certainly any plan to privatize social security would be a great boon to the same folks on Wall Street who we're now beginning to hold accountable and are spending a lot of money in these elections. So a lot of our candidates, and Kurt Schrader's a good example, if you look at the ads he's running, are talking about exactly this issue, the fact that their opponents stand to be the handmaidens of big money, of special interests. MR. COOK: They pay me the big bucks to be rude to you. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: That's all right. I'm going to get to the -- just let me get -- now I'm going to get to the stuff I know everybody here wants to focus on, which is the just, you know, the tactics and that stuff. But I think that the -- MR. COOK: So much for substance, sir. That's right. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: I understand that. I understand. MR. COOK: But the search engines are calling. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: I know that -- but I believe that the voters, I really believe voters do care about substance and policy at the end of the day, and I think they're listening to that message. So on the polling, if you just look in the last couple of days, Heath Schuler is up by 15 percent, well over 50 percent, despite the fact that a lot of these outside groups have dumped millions of dollars into that district. We just had a public poll from the Detroit Free Press, showing Mark Shower(inaudible) up 45 to 39, and Carney, Chris Carney, again despite the fact that these outside groups have dumped a lot of money into his race, is up about 48 to 41. Just some recent examples. Let me just say that we believe that the field operations that we put in place back in the spring and summer are going to be essential to victories of House candidates. This year we invested $20 million, unprecedented amount of money in field efforts, and we hired 725 field staff throughout the country, and they 're in the process of making record numbers of phone calls and voter contacts. With respect to the D Triple C's independent expenditure on campaign, I think there are a couple of things worth noting, which is that we had spent about $17 million on IE advertising before October 11th, and that more than 40 million will be invested in advertising in the final 21 days. So 14 million pre-21 days out; 40 million after that, and I should note that because we reserved time early, we get a lot more bang for our buck. On average, an investment made by the D Triple C early on of a million dollars buys one and a half million dollars' worth of advertising at the current rate. So that $40 million equates to $60 million being put in by these outside special interests at this particular point in time. So we believe that the two things that we need to see happen this year, which is the closing of the political energy gap and getting Democratic and Democratic voters out is bearing fruit, and we're seeing that in some of our early returns in the early vote states, in the vote by mail statistics, and we believe that independent voters are taking a very close look at these Republican candidates. Our Republican colleagues had hoped that they would just rush out and tell pollsters that they'd already decided these races, that they were just going to vote blindly against the Democratic incumbents. But in fact, they're taking a hard look at these Republican candidates and they do not like what they see. So with that, I will be happy, David, to stop and turn it over to you. MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. We're going to go to Brian Buckner, Allen Atta, Susan Page and Aaron Blake. Let me just ask you to sort of summarize your overall assessment. You said it was very challenging. You've given us several hopeful signs. You've been quoted as saying this isn't going to be '94 over again. Charlie Cook is saying it is, that roughly 52 House seats and eight Senate seats. So other than the fact that you're not going to get caught by surprise, what's different between now and '94? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, a major difference remains the fact that when you ask voters whether they see Republicans as a viable, governing alternative, the answer is no, and in most of these polls that we're seeing, the fact is that on specific issues, voters have greater confidence in the Democratic candidates, which is very different than 1994, where you had voters saying not just that they were unhappy with the Democrats, but that they really thought the Republicans were a great alternative. That is just not the case today, and that's why a lot of these undecided voters are taking a very close look at the Republican candidates and what they stand for and, you know, they're seeing a lot of people who emerge from these Republican primaries who are way off on the right. Many races were won by some of the Tea Party groups and, you know, in this situation in Delaware, the Senate race in Delaware is obviously an important example of just that. MR. COOK: One last from me. There's been a lot of talk or some talk anyway about the wisdom of the President heading off to Asia right after the election. Sam Youngman of the Hill quotes one Democratic strategist as saying unless we're planning to hold the lame duck session in India, it makes zero sense to take a ten day overseas trip right after what could be a disastrous midterm election. It will demoralize Democrats and needlessly cede message and momentum to Republicans. What's wrong with that analysis? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well as you know, and everyone at this table knows, this has been a long-planned trip. MR. COOK: And postponed. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: And postponed once. The President has to juggle all sorts of things. Right now, he is focused on the campaign. But it's very important that he, you know, work on U.S. domestic policy and also deal with foreign policy. I should note that when it comes to India, which is obviously a strong, emerging economy, it's important that the United States try and open those markets to American goods and services. That's good for our economy. So I think the President is right to be doing what he's doing. MR. COOK: Brian? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Mr. Chairman, if the Democrats do manage to keep the majority, it's going to be a much smaller majority than the one we have now, and many of the members -- not many, but a few of the members in that majority will have publicly (inaudible), Nancy Pelosi, the speaker. What happens if there is a majority of Democrats but not a majority of Democrats for Nancy Pelosi as speaker? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, as I think you know, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has an enormous reservoir of good will with the Democratic Caucus. She's been fighting this fight harder than anybody, and she would be the first to tell you that this campaign is about something that's much bigger than her. It's obviously making sure we have a majority in Congress that can move the country forward with the President. We're confident we're going to retain the majority, and I'm confident that Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House. MR. COOK: Alan? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Relating to the importance of Asia and on the free trade issue, obviously you were born in Asia, what (inaudible) needed to be changed in that South Korea free trade deal to revive it? Can it be done by the end of the year, and more generally, what are you going to do to sort of get that agenda back on track next year, free trade? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well as you know Alan, with the Korea Free Trade agreement, it's a major issue. One was the issue of U.S. beef exports, which has been largely resolved, I believe. But there's also a big issue with respect to the access of the U.S. automobile exports to the South Korean market, which has not been resolved. Until that issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the United States, that agreement will not go forward. Let me just say a word about trade. The difference between this administration and the previous administration is that this administration is going to insist on deals that are good for American manufacturers, American workers, and American business, rather than an uneven playing field. That will be the test, as to whether or not we go forward with some of these deals. And again, like South Korea, that's the automobile component as well that has to be resolved. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Are you saying that it is not going to be completed, I mean completed by Congress in the lame duck -- CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: I will say there's no plan to do that, and again, that -- in order for that deal to go through, someone would have to resolve the automobile impasse. MR. COOK: Susan? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Democrats have been very critical of Republicans for the past two years as being "the party of no." If Republicans manage to win a majority in the House, which I realize you're confident it's not going to happen, but if it did happen, what would be the attitude of Democrats, who are the majority party. Would you be the party of no, or would you take some other stance towards the majority? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well Susan, as you just said, I mean we're confident that we're going to hold on to the majority, and I would say that the Republican Party is not just the party of no. In fact, for some time, I have said it's a lot worse than that. It's not that they're just stopping good things from happening; it's that if they had their way, you would go back to the policies that would hurt American workers, taxpayers and middle class Americans. That's pretty clear in the whole litany of issues I just went through at the beginning, where they have said that they would repeal the Wall Street reform bill. They've said that they would walk back, they would put back the tax loopholes for corporations that are shipping jobs overseas. So look. We're focused on making sure that we have a majority here, and after the election we'll see, you know, how we proceed from there. MR. COOK: Aaron? MONITOR BREAKFAST: We're heard a lot after the health care bill was passed about how Democrats could talk about some of the finer points about, you know, pre-existing conditions and stuff like that. I think I've seen one or two ads from Democrats that are delving into these things. I'm wondering why that is. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, as you know, within the Democratic caucus, first of all there were some members that voted, you know, with the President, the majority (inaudible), and some voted against it. I mean our members listen closely to their constituents, and they are independent-minded members of Congress who make up their minds based on those conversations with their constituents. So in many cases, all members may not have voted for it. For those who did, the large majority around the country do talk about it. It's just that they don't get as much attention because those are in Congressional races that are not necessarily as contested. I mean I certainly talk about it when I'm out on the stump in my district and so do others, and there are some that are running ads. Scott Murphy in New York is running an ad, talking about you know, how the health insurance reform bill reins in the power of insurance companies. So there are people who are using it. Cedric Richmond, obviously one of our candidates, (inaudible) is using it, but so are others, and it's certainly part of the overall debate. I think the question is when you have to make a choice as to what to do when you have 30 seconds of TV time, what's the highest and best use of that. Some people like Scott Murphy are choosing to talk about reining in the insurance industry. Others are choosing to talk about the fact that they, you know, closed loopholes that reward multinational corporations that outsource American jobs. MR. COOK: Rick Klein. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Mr. Chairman, thanks. You've taken sort of articles based in our world, that voters tend not to care about process stories. But I'm wondering what evidence have you seen that this argument about outside groups, foreign influence potentially, is an effective argument to move voters, and wouldn't it be more effective, rather than complaining about the rules, to marshal your own forces and have outside groups on the Democratic side? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, I believe that there is evidence, at least through national polling, number one, that voters recoil at the idea of big money, special interests spending secret money to try and influence their vote. By overwhelming majorities, with Democrat, Republican or Independents, voters believe they have a right to know and we believe they have a right to know who's bankrolling these ads. And when you tie what we do know about funding these ads to issues that voters care about, I do think it's a very powerful combination, because then voters have that "ah-ha" moment, and they recognize that 60 Plus, for example, is you know, buying air time to support the Republican candidate, because those insurance companies would benefit enormously from privatizing Medicare. So I do think that when you talk about that nexus between these interest groups and others, now between interest group spending and these issues, it is a potent combination. Look, I believe that all these groups, whether they're on the left, center or right, should disclose their donors. That was the thrust of the Disclose bill that we passed in the House and of course was blocked in the Senate, because Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, essentially told any member of his caucus that if they voted for it, he'd have their head. Because they understood, they understood that there are a lot of these big special interests that prefer to operate in the dark, than allow the public to know who's behind them. As so that's -- look. I think what we're -- again, just speaking as a citizen. I think what we're witnessing is going to be very corrosive for our democracy. I think it's going to change politics for a long time to come in this country. MR. COOK: Carl? MONITOR BREAKFAST: You gave a rather coherent case for the Democrats and for the way that, for the special interests that this Congress have curbed, who are fighting back to regain their power. Why do you think the White House has had so much trouble sticking to a coherent message? I mean one week it's about Rove, one week it's John Boehner, one week it's the Chamber. Really all the way back to last year, you saw the stories in the Times, which was very accurate, about how no one knows they got (inaudible). Why has the White House had so much trouble with this, do you think? How much has that hurt the Democratic candidates? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well no, look. I think the President is doing a very good job of criss-crossing the country and laying out the framework for this campaign and the choice that voters make, and he has made the point, very clearly, that it would be a huge mistake to go back to the same failed economic policies that got this country into such a deep mess to begin with. He's pointed out that the might before he was sworn in as President, we were losing 700,000 jobs every month in this country. We're now at a point where we've seen nine consecutive months of positive private sector job growth. Are we where we want to be? Of course not. But why would we ever go back and go back to what? And again, it's back to these policies that for eight years served the interests of some of the most powerful groups in America. Wall Street, everyone turned a blind eye while they gambled with the economy. The health insurance companies saw their premiums double during those eight years, and their profits quadruple. So that is what the President has been saying. Let's not go back to that (inaudible) time when it was hurting middle class American. (inaudible) They served the interests of a very few at the top, including of course the tax policies that gave big breaks to the folks at the top, and you know, have been proven by the evidence not to have helped middle class Americans or really helped the economy at the end of the day. MONITOR BREAKFAST: So you're satisfied with the coherence of the White House message? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Yes, yes. MR. COOK: Margaret? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Thanks. Mr. Chairman, you were talking earlier and you mentioned the (inaudible) in the context of foreign policy. I'm wondering in the context of domestic politics, if you would talk a little bit about the Indian-American voting block, Indian-American voters? The President had a fundraiser or attended the fundraiser for the Maryland senators in Rockville the other night at the home of an Indian-American family, and I'm wondering do Indian-Americans primarily vote Democratic? Could you talk about their increasing role in America's social fabric or cultural or political (inaudible). CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Sure, sure. Well look, Indian Americans have made huge contributions to American society. I mean they're obviously an enormously entrepreneurial group, and they've also contributed, you know, through science and research in the United States and around the world. The U.S.-Indian relationship is a very important relationship. We are the world's two largest democracies. As you know, we've got a nuclear cooperation agreement that we've signed with India. So I think that Indian Americans here can play a very important role in helping open the markets in India, which is obviously a rapidly-expanding economy, to American goods and services. In terms of the politics, I think the -- what the Indian American community, I think like any community, looks at the policies of a given administration here at home to, you know, determine what's in the best interest of the country. We've very pleased to have the support of a lot of members of the Indian American community for, you know, the set of policies that this administration has pursued and this Congress has pursued, because it's got a heavy focus on education here at home. One of the things that is very important to the Indian community, as it is to every American, is investment in education here at home, in making sure that there's equal opportunity for people to read their full potential and go to college. So I think that, you know, both in terms of domestic politics, but also playing a role as a bridge to American investment in India, the Indian American community plays a very important role. MR. COOK: Stuart, and then the gentleman next to him. Stuart. MONITOR BREAKFAST: I want to ask you to go local in Texas, where Chet Edwards is obviously facing an uphill fight, as is Ciro Rodriguez. What is the D Triple C doing at this point to help them go forward and what prospects do you see for the two candidates? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, we see good prospects for both. Ciro Rodriguez's district, of course, is one of the most spread out districts in the country. He's done a great job of, you know, making sure that as the representative from that district, he has spent a lot of time in all parts of his district, and we're very confident that he is going to prevail in this election. In terms of what the D Triple C is doing, we are providing support to all their field operations, and we're also on the air in support of his campaign. With respect to Chet Edwards, the same is true. We've also provided substantial support for the field operations and we're also on the air in support of his campaign. He has an opponent who it was recently learned had failed to pay large amounts to the U.S. government, in terms of tax obligations, and here's a Republican candidate running on the mantle of fiscal responsibility, and yet apparently he can't keep his own finances straight. MR. COOK: Yes sir. MONITOR BREAKFAST: And so a little more broadly across the region, how do you save their southern blue dog seats, from the two open seats in Tennessee through Childers, and particularly, I mean if Gene Taylor is even in trouble, how do you save all those seats? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, as I just mentioned as one of my polls this morning, Heath Schuler who's been, you know, pounded by these outside groups, and yet you know, polling remains very strong. These are members of Congress who have been battle-tested over a long period of time. They survived the 1994 avalanche in many cases. In fact, most of the people and you know, certainly Chet Edwards among them. So these guys are battle-tested and they know how to frame the choice for the election for the voters in their district. Look, as I said at the beginning, these are all tough races. I mean there's -- but at the end of the day, we believe that our candidates will break through on these issues, and you know, the Chet Edwards situation is a good example, because as people found out more or find out more about the Republican candidate, Mr. Flores, they're finding out that he's not all that he said he was. MONITOR BREAKFAST: We've got about 20 minutes or so to go. We're going to go next to Dana Milbank, then Sean Miller, John McCormack, Mort Kondracke, Gail Chaddick, John Dickerson and Eleanor Clift to finish. Dana? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Mr. Chairman, I'm concerned about your well-being. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Thank you Dana. (Laughter.) MR. COOK: And seeing Dana here, you know why. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: I was doing fine until I saw you. MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) your district. This would seem not to be the most fun you could have in the job right now. I just wanted to see how you're holding up, and knowing what you know now, would you have volunteered to do this? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Okay, Dana. Well -- (Laughter.) CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Look. In 2008, when I chaired the D Triple C last cycle, we had the benefit of trying to maximize our gains in a positive political environment, right? Now we're in a position of trying to make sure that in a tough political environment, we hold our majority. And obviously that makes for a lot of very tough decisions. The short answer to your question, as to whether or not I'm pleased I took the job, is I'm glad I'm where I am in this position. But I will, you know, obviously it's a tough cycle. But, you know, when the Speaker asked me to do this again, she said she didn't, you know, want somebody to start out with training wheels on. I believe the D Triple C, in 2006 and 2008 today, is one of the strongest D Triple C's in the history of the organization. I think that we demonstrated very clearly in the special elections that we had that we know how to win races. After all, we won a seat in upstate New York that had been held by Republicans in the Civil War when Bill Owens won, despite the fact that you had a very tumultuous political environment at that time. We won the Scott Murphy race early on, even though that had been a Republican seat until 2006. Then in Pennsylvania 12 with Mark Critz, despite the predictions of many of the same folks who were predicting the Democrats will not hold the House today, we won. Even the night of that election, the Republicans were claiming that if you just waited for more of the returns to come in, they would show that in fact that they had won that race, and a lot of the prognosticators, who I have great respect for, who have said the Democrats won't hold the House, predicted that we would lose the Pennsylvania 12th. So look. I think that it's a cycle that really puts all of us to the test, and we're going to do the best we can. I am confident the day after the election, we at the D Triple C will be able to say that we did everything possible to hold onto the majority, and that we will have the majority. MR. COOK: Sean? MONITOR BREAKFAST: Congressman -- CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: But I appreciate the concern about my mental health. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Congressman, we hear a lot about how prepared you guys were for, you know, for this cycle. But you know, you look at incumbents like Grijalva in Arizona, you know, Phil Hare in Illinois and even Jim Oberstar in Minnesota. These are guys who hold Democratic districts, and they're in tough races. So I'm wondering do these guys ignore your advice, or is that just a sign of how bad the environment is? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, a couple of things. I mean let me just point to a couple of members who recognized early on that they would be facing tough elections and prepared. Ike Skelton's obviously a good example, and there are other examples. Beyond our Front Line program, which was designed to make sure that folks from tough districts, most of whom got elected in 2006 and 2008, were prepared. We did expand that to other members, where there were clearly, you know, danger signs. What has obviously shuffled the deck in some of these districts is the outside money that's poured in. I mean you have outside money coming into the Grijalva's district. You have a lot of outside money coming into Phil Hare's district. You know, when candidates are preparing for an election, you know, they look at their opponent in the district. They are out campaigning. They're at debates, you know, they're fundraising in their local community. They're watching, keeping an eye on the campaign, you know, the monies their opponent has. And then what happens, of course, is when one of these third parties parachutes in from outside the district, it obviously changes the dynamic in the race. So that is something that obviously, in some of the races, people are having to contend with. I mean look, someone like Bruce Braley is, you know, he's a member of Congress who understands campaigns. He fought a hard campaign, and yet he's seeing now $2 million or more dumped into his race. So he's fighting back, and I'm confident he's going to win. Are there some members? There are a few members who we approached many, many, many months ago, to tell them to get their act together, who did not take that advice, and we're obviously working very closely now to try and protect even those who did not fully prepare themselves. MR. COOK: John. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Congressman, you were very critical of Paul Ryan's attitude about Medicare and to a means test and voucher program, while Republicans have hit Democrats pretty hard on $500 billion in Medicare costs, health care (inaudible). How do you convince that you're more concerned about Ryan's claim to reform Medicare for those 55 and younger, who (inaudible) passing a law this year by a Democratic majority? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, as you know, with respect to the health care reform bill, those were primarily changes in the Medicare Advantage plan. It's important that everyone understand that the Medicare Advantage plan was subsidized at about 114 percent of the regular Medicare fee for service plan. And as a result, not only were taxpayers giving an additional subsidy to these health insurance companies that were doing the Medicare Advantage, but other folks in the fee for service Medicare were actually subsidizing these other plans. And so I think that as people learn that, and obviously there's been a lot of misinformation about exactly what happened with respect to the financing, when people learn that, and they also learn about the Republican plan to privatize Medicare, which again is more than a plan. It was the alternative budget that the Republicans voted on last year. When they learn about that, I think they recognize that putting in charge a Republican majority that voted to privatize Medicare already last year, does put them at risk for the security of their Medicare. MR. COOK: Mort? MONITOR BREAKFAST: What is the estimate of the dimensions of this outside Republican money that's going to be spent in this cycle? How does that compare with outside Democratic money, and what do you think the net balance is going to be in terms of money spent on this? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well Mort, I mean the amount of money being spent by the Republican allied groups and special interests is huge. I mean as of right now in House races, I believe it's at least about a 5 to 1. I have to get -- you know, the figures change every day. We may see a buy today or tomorrow that changes those numbers altogether. But the fact of the matter is you are seeing a huge amount of this secret money coming down on the Republican side. And you know, there are a couple of ways to respond to that. One way is for voters to, you know, try and support their local candidates more and in fact, when a lot of this outside money gets dumped in a district, you know, obviously the Democratic candidate is calling up all their constituents and supporters and saying you know what? Do you really want these out of state guys with secret money buying this election? So that's one way to defined themselves. Two, the D Triple C's grassroots fundraising has been boosted recently, because people understand the threat posed by these outside groups. Third, you know, we have to use this as part of our message of what's going on, which I talked about earlier. MONITOR BREAKFAST: So (inaudible). CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Yes. MONITOR BREAKFAST: So what is the -- what are (inaudible) step out of this cycle, but from other groups that are traditionally supporting you. So does how does their contributions compare to what you see from the Chamber and Karl Rove? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Right. Well, when I said it was about at least a 5 to 1, I was taking into account organizations like AFSCME or SCIU, that may have, you know -- MONITOR BREAKFAST: But you said a 5 to 1 (inaudible) -- CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: On that, on that measure, in terms of the outside groups, yeah. Again, the numbers changes, but I believe that that's in the ballpark right there. MR. COOK: Gail? MONITOR BREAKFAST: One of the D Triple C ads that appears to be very effective is the one with you to Mark Critz's race in the Pennsylvania 12th, that linked a businessman with no voting record to support an outsourcing (inaudible). How important is that theme for Democrats? I've seen D Triple C ads on that theme in 21 districts. Are there more, and is the ad accurate? A lot of fact-finding groups have said that the logic is tortured, to say that because you signed the no tax increase pledge, you must support all the tax breaks in the tax code. One of them is a tax break for outsourcing; therefore, you support outsourcing. In fact, the code actually says no net increase. So I guess you could give (inaudible). CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Let's put it this way. In the Mark Critz district, there were a couple of issues. One was the pledge, the fact that the Republican candidate, who remains the Republican candidate, had a business transaction where one of the entities actually benefited from the particular tax loopholes we're talking about. But no. I think it's absolutely not fair, and we had a vote on that in the House, and the Republicans opposed it, I believe to a person. I mean so they opposed it on the grounds that it was raising revenue. We used that revenue to make sure that we kept teachers in the classroom this fall, when our kids would be returning to school, so that there was either a teacher in the classroom and they didn't have oversized classes. And given that choice, Republicans opposed it and they continued -- they voted against that nine times, on the grounds that it was a revenue raiser. Did it raise revenue? Yes, it did. It did so by closing down these subsidies that rewarded these corporations that send jobs overseas. We can get in a great discussion about exactly how this works. But some very creative tax lawyers found a way for all of us to essentially subsidize the taxes they pay on their profits in other countries. That's the bottom line about what we did, because the way that these tax lawyers were working the deal, was that when a U.S. corporation or multinational corporation paid their tax say in France, they would then find a way to deduct that tax payment against other taxes unrelated to the profits that they generated overseas. MR. COOK: Mr. Dickerson. MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) the President talked about on 2.0, the issue that this low approval ratings required some kind of discussion about what he would look like after the elections, and I believe some of it is (inaudible). So given the Congress has much lower approval ratings, what's the thinking about Democratic Congress 2.0, if you were to survive in control? And then what would 2.0 look like? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, look. There's a lot of unfinished work. I think we would start with a number of proposals that the President's put on the table, to continue to get the economy back on its feet. He has proposed essentially 100 percent depreciation for business investments as an extra prod for people to invest now. Then a lot of the capital that's on the sidelines in the economy, he's put forward a proposal on infrastructure, including the establishment of an infrastructure bank, which would include public-private partnerships. I think when it comes to energy policy, we need to continue to focus on a lot of clean energy incentives that were put in place in the recovery bill, that have actually succeeded tremendously in increasing the investment here in clean energy. You know, right now we're getting badly by our competitors in China and elsewhere, and that legislation has actually helped created more investment here at home. So I think that the immediate focus would be on those sorts of issues in the coming months. Reauthorization and No Child Left Behind, you know, the President's proposal, Race to the Top. That's going to be big in the next cycle, something that was looked at now. I mentioned the infrastructure bank. The Transportation authorization bill expires at the end of this year. So that's why it's very important we work on the President's proposal as soon as possible. MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: No look, look. I think we would all like to see a genuine signal from our Republican colleagues, that they wanted to work on a number of these issues. I think all of you know that there are a lot of examples of where they decided for purely political reasons not to engage. I mean you know about the deficit and debt reduction commission, where you had a lot of Republican Senators who had co-sponsored the bill, and then they voted against the same bill that they had their names on. That's why we have one created by executive order. You know, you have people like Senator Grassley, one of the champions of the individual mandate in health care, which had been first proposed by Senator Chaffee and adopted by Mitch Romney in Massachusetts. Then he went 100 degrees on that, all of the sudden claiming that an idea that he had championed was unconstitutional. So the President needs to have some indication from our Republican colleagues that they're willing to sit down and work. I think he's made it very clear from the beginning that he's willing to do that. I hope, I hope that we will see that. My concern is that the message being sent in the Republican primaries, where the candidates who were way off on the right are winning, is a message that no compromise, no negotiation. Let's just be ideological purists and off on our particular ideological mission, rather than solving the problems of the country. That's my concern. I hope that's not the case, but that's my concern, that that is the message the Republicans are receiving through this election. MR. COOK: Eleanor? MONITOR BREAKFAST: (inaudible) CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: I'll tell you where this is frustrating, Eleanor, about that whole line of argument from the Republican side, is that since 2006, we have put in place many important reforms, on the earmark process and on the ethics process. So let's just start with the ethics process, the Office of Congressional Ethics, which was set up to have an independent group review complaints. There is now talk that if the Republicans win, they would abolish it. They would abolish it. That was an important reform to increase accountability. Let's talk about earmarks, because as we all know, when the Republicans were last in the control of the Congress, you saw a mushrooming of earmarks. What did we do? Number one, we made them all transparent. Number two, we reduced them dramatically. Number three, we said that we're no longer going to do earmarks to for-profit entities. Now you heard a lot of talk earlier this year from the Republicans about how they were going to get rid of earmarks. It is not mentioned in their 47-page so-called Pledge to America, and there's no even any indication in there that they would continue the reforms the Democrats have put in, including the reform that says you're not going to have earmarks for for-profit entities. They couldn't even get agreement in their caucus on that. They hyped it all up, but not a word in their 47-page Pledge to America. So I have to tell you. I mean it's -- hearing them talk about reform and after all, you know, Mr. Boehner was one of the architects of the Casetree Project. He was one of the architects of the Casetree Project, and he's the guy that was huddling with all the lobbyists from Wall Street. It's been reported in many of your papers about how he, you know, conspired with them to try and defeat Wall Street reform. Hey now, you know, they lost that fight. But all they need to do now is elect these Republican candidates around the country and boom, they'll try and repeal Wall Street reform. Obviously they can't repeal it outright, because the President would veto it. But they can try and defund the enforcement of it. They can try to throw obstacles in front of it. That's why these groups are spending tens of millions of dollars to try to elect these guys to do exactly that. MR. COOK: We've got about two minutes. Sam Stein. MONITOR BREAKFAST: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Earlier, you were talking about the influence of corporate donors, anonymous donors. I'm wondering if we look back, can you assess how significant the failure to pass the Disclose Act in the Senate was on the Democratic Party, and would you rank it as one of the most important or influential political failures that the party had, knowing that maybe (inaudible)? CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Well, this may sound corny. I view it as a failure for the country, a failure for American democracy. I really believe that this will change politics for the worse for a long time to come. The Disclose Act stood for the simple principle that, you know, the American voters have a right to know about who's bankrolling these ads. Our view is if you've got nothing to hide, you should have nothing to fear from the Disclose Act. As you pointed out, we have 58 Democrats plus Joe Lieberman, 59 voting for cloture. Every single Republican followed the orders of Mitch McConnell to block it, despite the fact that when the Citizens United decision came down, a number of them, like Senator McCain, like Senator Collins and others and Snowe, said it was a terrible decision. They said it was a terrible decision. In the Senate, when they didn't want to support the bill as it was, Senator Schumer said "Okay, well show me some changes. Just show me how you want to do the disclosure." They don't want to do the disclosure because they know that a lot of these individuals and organizations who are giving to these groups don't want to be identified, because it would point out very quickly that they're in these -- they're funding these races not because they are concerned about the communities that they're investing these monies in, but because they want members of Congress who are going to serve their interests at the end of the day. So I -- and let me just say one other point, because when I read -- I know everyone's got to report what the Republicans and what we say. But they have gotten away, in some measure, by arguing that this is about freedom of speech. This is not about freedom of speech. The Disclose Act does not try and overturn the Citizens United decision. That was obviously done on First Amendment grounds. We disagree with the decision., It was 5-4. The Justice Stephens dissent is right-on. But the Disclose Act doesn't try to overturn it. All the Disclose Act does is say tell us who's funding the ads, that the American people have a right to know. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It has to do with the right of the American people to know who's spending millions of dollars to try and influence their vote. MR. COOK: Thanks for doing this, sir. I appreciate it very much. CHAIRMAN VAN HOLLEN: Thank you. (Whereupon, the meeting was