campaign contributions

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Small Problem

There's been a lot of talk about the rising power of the small donor in this presidential campaign, from the talk of Barack Obama's large internet fundraising base to Ron Paul's record-breaking online contribution numbers. This article in Business Week investigates the small donor narrative and finds that, for all the hype, big donors are still where the power lies.

Playing Both Sides

The Wall Street Journal comments today on the trend for corporations to "play the field" in presidential politics giving money to multiple candidates on both Democratic and Republican sides to shore up their fortunes for when the next administration comes to town.

More Big Money

Lest the presidential candidates think they are alone in pulling in record sums of money this year, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) -- aka Big Money Mitch -- has announced he's raised $10.89 million towards his re-election campaign.

Oil Money Trumps Energy Policy

Yesterday evening the Senate passed a watered down version of the energy bill that the House of Representatives passed last week. The oil and gas industry, and their allies in the Senate to whom they’ve given millions in campaign contributions, kept their billions in tax giveaways; while investment in alternative energy sources was deferred.

Profit Vs. Planet

Yesterday the House passed new energy legislation to increase fuel efficiency standards and repeal billions in tax subsidies to the oil and gas industry, but the bill can't even make to a vote in the Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led the Senate effort against the bill, with $576,900 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and another $107,00 from auto manufacturers to back him up.

In One Earmark, Out the Other

Not a good day for Rep. Don Young (R-AK) in the press. The Anchorage Daily News digs into him for a long history of taking generous campaign contributions from interests for whom he earmarked millions upon millions in federal money.

Young, and more specifically his campaign accounts, benefited tidily from his position on the House Transportation Committee:


Throwing Good Money After Bad

Erik Prince, chairman of Blackwater, played (and paid) the Washington game to win millions in government contracts and keep oversight on the lax side. He'll play the game again to keep them in the face of allegations over Blackwater's conduct in Iraq.

They Are Not Alone

Bret Matthew in his opinion column for the Brandeis Hoot, "The Book of Matthew" (ha) paints a bleak portrait of the modern campaign for public office, and touts Clean Elections as the answer to an electoral process plagued by the buying and selling of influence.

He imagines the evolution of a young candidate who, in order to play the game and win office must become indebted to corporate interests and other sources of big campaign checks:

All Together Now

This write up of a panel discussion on lobbying, and lobbyist influence via campaign contributions, hosted at Baruch College really underscores a sentiment that the privately financed model of campaigns is serving no one well. Ordinary voters without special access are tired of feeling shut out, and lobbyists are tired of being the bad guys in a game they have to play.

Some interesting excerpts:

Off the Bus, On the Money

Public Campaign's Nancy Watzman contributes to two more features in the "Off the Bus" campaign analysis series at Huffington Post. In one, Tim Frasca revisits the campaign donation angle behind the decision by leading Republican presidential contenders to skip a debate at an historically black university. In the second, Alycia Dolan investigates the newest high-dollar political donors: high school students. Kids today...