Polis Victory Fund to raise money for Bennet, Markey and House Dems

Boulder Democrat U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who cruised to election last fall after surviving a bruising three-way primary, has formed a joint fundraising committee to raise campaign cash for 30 of his Democratic colleagues, including fellow Colorado freshmen U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, CQ Politics reports.

The Jared Polis Victory Fund will also parcel out donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and four PACs run by House leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Polis poured just short of $6 million of his own money into his 2008 campaign to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, making him the top self-funder in the nation last year. When he was elected, the Internet entrepreneur was the third wealthiest member of the House, according to financial disclosure forms analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Because the 2nd District seat is among the safest in Colorado for a Democrat — President Barack Obama won 64 percent of the vote there, slightly edging Polis’ 60 percent — Polis can turn his attention to helping colleagues facing closer races raise money. In addition to Markey, who ousted three-term Republican Marilyn Musgrave to represent the 4th District, the recipients of Polis’ fundraising muscle include all three members of the New Mexico House delegation, U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Lujan. Martin Heinrich and Harry Teague.

Already amassing power in Congress far beyond the usual crumbs allotted freshman members, Polis adds his fundraising strength to seats he landed earlier this year on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and the powerful House Rules Committee, exceedingly rare feats for a rookie.

After the Polis fund takes 12 percent of each donation for his own campaign chest, each of the designated candidates stands to receive 2.93 percent of the money raised. For donations topping $40,000, the Polis fund parcels out cuts to other committees dedicated to electing Democrats to Congress. Bennet, on the ballot in 2010 after winning appointment to fill the term of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is the only Senate candidate to get a piece of Polis’ fundraising prowess.

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