SHOW ME THE MONEY. Although there are many ways to compare �Hill committee� fundraising (year against, two-years-ago against, and, in the DNC/RNC case, four-years-ago against), and despite my advocacy for Howard Dean�s long-term investing in a 50-state strategy, you have to hand it to DSCC chair Chuck Schumer and DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel: These boys can ring the register.

Cash-on-hand isn't everything, but it's a big thing at this point in the cycle. And sure, the RNC/DNC operate with a greater (but not exclusive) focus on the four-year cycle. But the latest numbers are what they are. To wit:

* The DCCC leads the RNCC by a narrow, but still favorable 1.2 to 1 ratio in cash on hand ($32 million to $26.5 million).

* The DSCC leads the RSNC by a mindboggling 1.9 to 1 ratio in CoH ($37.7 million to $19.9 million).

* But the RNC leads the DNC by a whopping 4.1 to 1 ratio in CoH ($44.7 million to $10.8 million).

Recall that in 1994, when it looked like a GOP wave was coming, interest groups and trade associations still gave sufficient monies to the powers-that-were, not the powers-that-might-be, giving then-majority Democrats the edge overall; it wasn't until the '96 cycle that GOP committees and candidates, as the newly-ascendant majority on the Hill, got the majority of the monies raised in the two-party competition for cash. So, for the DSCC and DCCC to be ahead before the 2006 outcomes -- even if they do look favorable for Democrats at this juncture -- is quite startling...especially since, ceteris paribus, the Republicans historically (and presently) enjoy a built-in advantage among corporate and non-labor trade association givers.

Whatever displeasure has been expressed toward Schumer�s or Emanuel�s candidate and recruitment-related maneuvers (some of it justified), you can�t say they aren�t shaking the money tree at just the historical moment they need to be -- because they are.

--Tom Schaller