Home>Campaigns>Lautenberg still has nearly $90k in his campaign account. Here are some other ex-congressmen still maintaining campaign accounts

U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg in 1985. (Photo: Bernard Gotfyrd/Library of Congress).

Lautenberg still has nearly $90k in his campaign account. Here are some other ex-congressmen still maintaining campaign accounts

Tom Byrne loaned himself $500k for a possible U.S. Senate bid 23 years ago; now the account is worth over $1 million

By David Wildstein, April 16 2023 6:09 pm

Frank Lautenberg has been dead for almost ten years but still has $89,803 cash-on-hand.

The former five-term U.S. Senator, who died in office in June 2013, continues to carry a $1,090,000 campaign debt from October 2002, when he made a last-minute bid to return to the Senate after another Democrat, Bob Torricelli, dropped out of the race at the end of September.

Keeping the campaign account alive preserves the option of the Lautenberg family raising money to retire his debt and pay back his heirs.

Torricelli ended his campaign with $2,202,325.  He terminated his campaign account in 2018 with $177,789 in the bank.  He said he did not expect to be a candidate again and was no longer making political expenditures; instead, he said he would distribute his campaign account to non-profit groups, including his own, The Rosemont Foundation.

After Lautenberg announced his retirement from the Senate in 1999, Former Democratic State Chairman Tom Byrne, the son of former Gov. Brendan Byrne, considered running.  He loaned $500,000 to his fledgling campaign but didn’t run after party leaders rallied behind either Jon Corzine or Jim Florio.  Byrne, a savvy investor whose day job is as a wealth manager, never closed his campaign account; more than two decades later, Friends of Tom Byrne is now worth $1,041,550.

In 2008, when there was speculation that Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Englewood) was mulling a bid for statewide office, Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes opened a just-in-case federal campaign account.  Rothman never ran statewide, and Wildes had $697,580 in his warchest by the end of 2012.  Now, more through interest than fundraising, Wildes has $865,419 cash-on-hand.

But congressional redistricting has moved Englewood from the 9th district to the 5th, so rather than wait for 86-year-old Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) to retire (Pascrell defeated Rothman in a redistricting-created incumbent vs. incumbent primary in 2012).  Now Wildes may be waiting for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) to give up his seat to make a House run.

More than fourteen years after retiring from Congress after twelve terms, former Rep. Jim Saxton (R-Mount Holly) still has $10,610  remaining in his campaign account.  He left Congress with $389,387 cash-on-hand.

Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) still has $182,955 in his campaign account.  He reported just one contribution so far this year: $1,500 to Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma).    Five years ago, after he abruptly announced his retirement — Democrat Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) raised $1.2 million by the end of 2017 and frightened the 12-term congressman out of the race – Frelinghuysen had $740,049 banked.

Earlier this year, former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), who narrowly lost his re-election bid in 2022, converted his campaign account into Districts for Democracy, a political action committee aimed at combating bids by “MAGA extremists” from taking over public schools.

More than four years after leaving Congress, former Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) continues to have revenues for his campaign account.  That’s because his former treasurer, Andrew McCrosson, still makes restitution payments after his 2010 conviction for embezzling about $500,000 from LoBiondo for Congress.  McCrosson paid $1,856 during the first quarter of 2023.  LoBiondo left Congress with $229,190 cash-on-hand; he still has $140,217 remaining.

Former Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York), who is seeking a return to his old job as mayor in a non-partisan municipal election next month, left office in January with $87,861 in his old account.  He should have filed a first quarter 2023 fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission by the April 15 deadline.

The sudden resignation of Rep. Rob Andrews (D-Haddon Heights) in February 2014 came as the 13-term congressman was facing a House Ethics Committee complaint that he had misused campaign funds.   He left Congress with $321,834 in the bank.   He later closed his account and transferred the balance to his political action committee, PAC for Growth and Excellence.  Andrews’ PAC has $216,510 cash-on-hand.  Aside from bank and storage fees, a contribution to the Cooper Foundation, and a salary and expenses for his treasurer, Andrews’ PAC has made no campaign contributions.

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