[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/16/art.bopt0616.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is set to headline a Democratic fundraiser on Thursday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A fundraising dinner featuring President Obama will raise around $3 million for congressional Democrats on Thursday, two sources familiar with the event tell CNN.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will split the $3 million haul, which falls far short of a recent GOP congressional fundraiser headlined by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Spokesmen for the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee said $14 million was raised at that event held earlier this month.
Still, the two fundraisers are difficult to compare because Democrats refused donations from registered lobbyists and political action committees for this dinner. Obama does not accept contributions from PACs and lobbyists.
One of the Democratic sources said that attendees at this week’s fundraiser are primarily new donors, while the other source noted that the ban on lobbyist and PAC donations was a temporary measure for this dinner and that those traditional contributors will continue to give to congressional Democrats.
Still, the sizable money gap raises questions as to why a popular president and the congressional Democratic majority were not able to pull in more money at a major fundraiser.
Eighteen months before the midterm elections, the congressional campaign committees are aggressively seeking to raise money. In the latest Federal Election Commission disclosures, The DSCC was carrying a debt of $4.6 million with a cash-on-hand balance of more than $2.6 million; the DCCC was $7 million in debt, and had $4 million in the bank; the NRSC had $2.6 million in the bank and no debt; and the NRCC was $5 million in debt and had about $3.7 million cash-on hand.
Updated: 7:40 p.m.