The group’s political action committee, headed by Stella O’Leary, reckons it had a little something to do with
that sweep and at the get together introduced some of the November winners who had received its backing.
O’Leary said that when she started IAD in the 1990s, there were more Irish Americans from the Republican side of the aisle than Democrats in the House of Representatives.
“We’ve turned that around and we’re going to hold on to that,” O’Leary said.
At the Phoenix Park Hotel event, freshmen House members Mary Jo Kilroy from Ohio, Mike McMahon from New York, Gerry Connolly from Virginia, Mike Quigley of Illinois and Scott Murphy of New York, both just elected in special elections in New York, joined together in offering praise of O’Leary and Irish American Democrat supporters.
Veteran House members, Richard Neal of Massachusetts and Joe Crowley of New York, their party’s co-chairs of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, reminisced about how IAD had grown in stature since its inception when financial disclosure statements showed it paying out more to Costco and Staples for office supplies than to some Democratic
In 2008, IAD came in as number 1262 out of 4024 for cash on hand of those political action committees registered with the Federal Elections Commission. This was just below the Medical Marijuana political action committee and just above the Institute of Makers of Explosives pac.
“What we do best it to get people to go events and we get the people out where they can then contribute directly to the candidate,” said O’Leary.
Upcoming priorities for the group include working on behalf of Irish living illegally in the U.S., sustaining the peace in Northern Ireland, and maintaining financial investment in job creation back in Ireland.
Ciaran Staunton of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and attorney Brian O’Dwyer, a long time supporter of the Irish American Democrats, traveled from New York to attend the event.
Rep. Crowley warned his new fellow House and Senate members of Staunton’s dogged lobbying on behalf of the undocumented.
“When he says he’ll be at your door, it’s not just the one on Capitol Hill. You’ll find him at your door at home if you’re not careful,” said Crowley with a laugh.
The IAD’s next target of operations is Virginia where it is Irish American versus Irish American in the Democratic gubernatorial primary race.
Long time Clinton supporter, former Democratic National Committee chair, Terry McAuliffe, is lined up against state delegate Brian Moran. The primary is June 9.
The money, including a donation by the Irish American Democrats, is on McAuliffe, but with just a days to go the race is too close to call and now includes a third candidate, State Senator Creigh Deeds.