I got an e-mail the other day from a local Democrat, asking for my help in spreading the word about a movement to ask Rep. Judy Biggert to remove herself from the House ethics committee.

Rep. Biggert is my representative (IL-13), and she’s a Republican. She serves on the Ethics committee (the same one that is responsible for what to do with Tom DeLay). As it turns out, Rep. Biggert took some money (about $1800) from DeLay’s PAC 7 years ago.

In other words, this group expects Biggert to step aside because of a one-time contribution of less than $2,000 — this for a candidate who’s raised nearly $2m over the past six years. Keep in mind that the committee she sits on did in fact censure DeLay three times last cycle… they didn’t go far enough, of course, but isn’t it stretching credibility more than a little bit to think that $1800 has any influence for a candidate who regularly raises over a half million dollars per cycle?

In case it wasn’t obvious, I passed on the opportunity to help this individual spread the word.

In somewhat related news, DNC chair Howard Dean is in the headlines, and it’s not pretty. After recently telling a group that Tom DeLay should go back to Texas where he can serve out a jail term (nevermind that he’s not been indicted, let alone convicted of anything), this week he suggested that “a lot of [Republicans] have never made an honest living in their lives.”

Quite rightly, several Democrats (including Joe Biden and John Edwards) criticized Dean’s remarks, suggesting that his remarks don’t speak for a majority of Democrats. Back in November when I indicated I was excited about the prospects of Dean as chair (and agaain in February when he was elected), I indicated that I was most interested in the fact that he realized we had to build the party from the ground up, even in the areas where that would be a long-term commitment without any likelihood of short-term gains. The early fundraising indicators aren’t positive, with the DNC fundraising lagging behind the RNC — and this was an area where Dean was supposed to excel!

Helping the party articulate what it’s for — something Dean did so well early in his presidential race — is what is desperately needed. Spreading fliers about a trivial political contribution from seven years ago is no more likely to grow the Democratic base out here in DuPage County than vilifying Republicans for simply being Republicans will do nationally.

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