US Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico,

mingled with Democratic benefactors at the Hyatt Regency in Washington DC Tuesday night, earning an introduction to "more than 150 attendees from the [political action committee] and donor community" by outgoing chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Steve Israel for a

that welcomed new members of the 114th Congress.

A lot of ink's been splashed about the national recognition Luján will receive as the leader of the political arm of US House Democrats. It's a "

." It's "

." The position is "


Not mentioned: As the head of the DCCC, Luján has now become a cog in the modern-day election money machine that raises and spends millions of dollars to influence your vote.

'Floodgates for special-interest, corporate money'

It's a machine that Luján, in  theory, supported dismantling just months ago, when he introduced a companion bill in the US House to New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall's constitutional

that would have given Congress and states the power to regulate the raising and spending of unlimited amounts of cash in elections. He says in a statement through the DCCC that he supports the

, legislation that seeks to shine more sunlight on groups raising and spending unlimited amounts of cash.

“Citizens United opened the floodgates for special-interest, corporate money from hidden donors that seeks to influence elections," Luján said in a

about his bill, referring to the US Supreme Court's 2010 decision Citizens United v the Federal Election Commission that granted individuals, corporations, unions and other organizations the ability to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash in elections—as long as they don't coordinate how that cash is spent directly with candidates. “This amendment would take a critical step toward removing corporate influence in our elections and reaffirm the bedrock principles of our democracy by giving voice back to the people.”

But as the newly appointed leader of the DCCC, Luján will be tasked with overseeing a heavy hitting political action committee with a multi-million dollar balance sheet.

The DCCC is designated as a "party PAC" that must adhere to contribution limits of up to $32,400 from individuals and PACs. But there are no contribution limits on what political party committees and campaigns give to the DCCC.

Federal contribution limits for the year 2014
Federal contribution limits for the year 2014 |

Asked how his chairmanship at the DCCC squares with his advocacy for campaign finance reform, Luján reaffirmed his support for the DISCLOSE Act through one of the group's spokeswomen, adding in his statement that a "huge portion" of the DCCC is "funded by grassroots donations averaging about $20, which stands in stark contrast to Republican outside groups run by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers."

The Republican political operative and two industrialist brothers—veritable liberal boogymen—do run a network of groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash without having to disclose contributors. During the 2014 election cycle, conservative nonprofit groups that don't have to disclose donors spent nearly $130 million to the liberal dark money nonprofits' $32 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

But the party self-professed to support campaign finance reform isn't immune to the influence game, and certainly not fat checks given by the same fat cat corporate types liberals love to loath. According to that data, super PACs with a liberal viewpoint spent $192.6 million—$43.1 million more than conservative super PACs. Often heavy-hitting Democratic and Republican groups share the same donors, as companies attempt to spread influence across the political spectrum. 
From Jan. 1, 2013, to Oct. 15, 2014, the DCCC raised nearly $154 million dollars, according to FEC reports. The campaigns of Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, gave the DCCC just over $1 million each, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. PACs associated with corporations like Planned Parenthood, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Herbalife International, UnitedHealth Group, AT&T, Boeing Corp, Walmart, McDonalds, Wells Fargo and Bank of America each chipped in $30,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The National Republican Campaign Committee, the DCCC counterpart, raised $109 million in that period. Campaign finance numbers here are likely deflated since disclosures following the period after Oct. 15 have not yet been filed.
Independent expenditures
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts in elections. Unlike nonprofits, they must disclose donors. 
The DCCC isn't a super PAC, and it's designation as a party committee forces it to disclose its donors and adhere to contribution limits. But it does have an arm that's allowed to spend as much as it wants in elections, so long as the campaigns it's supporting don't know how and when the groups makes those expenditures.