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Small Donor Distortion

This article, from David Weigel at Reason Magazine, claims the rise of the small-dollar donor eliminates the need for public financing. He trots out the beaten horse of Howard Dean's presidential campaign as proof that the internet provides an effective counterbalance to any iniquity inherent to privately financed elections. While the internet is a valuable tool for enhancing participation in politics, Weigel is kidding himself if he thinks it has corrected the imbalance big-money fundraising creates.


A Perfect Storm

What do you get when you cross a highly competitive slate of Congressional races with a Presidential race? A wooley jumper! Sorry...wrong joke: actually you get a campaign fundraising season sure to dwarf its predecessors in terms of sheer dollars raised and overall number of wealthy donors squeezed dry by a parade of candidates and their fundraising invitations.


Hush Money

Oh, the games we play. Candidates for President are working the fundraising circuit with feverish intensity, while doing everything they can to downplay how much money they'll raise -- all so that on April 15th, when the first campaign filings are due, they can awe and astound with the piles of money they've raked in, and get that one step closer to the White House.


Start 'em Young

Everybody who has thrown their hat into the ring for the 2008 Presidential race is looking for a fundraising edge to vault them ahead of their competitors: Mitt Romney, vying for the Republican nomination, has targeted students as fundraisers, promising them a 10% commission for every dollar over $1,000 they bring in. It's an arrangement that raises some ethical questions.


Hot on the Money Trail

The next election frenzy hasn't begun in earnest in the public eye, but behind closed (and gilded) doors, the race for campaign cash is on and as these two articles describe.

Somebody's Going to Jail...

Bob Ney reported to prison yesterday to begin serving his 2+ years sentence on federal corruption charges stemming from his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. His former chief of staff William Heaton pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with the same corruption inquiry.


Obama's Attempts at Presidential Public Financing

Financial Times reports on efforts by presidential candidate Barack Obama to preserve the opportunity to opt into the presidential public financing system if he becomes the Democratic nominee while still fundraising for the primary and general election as if he were going to be privately financed. It's an interesting commentary on candidates being forced into the big money game in order to remain viable.


Quiet Please, Money is Talking

"American democracy should not force those who seek its highest office to prostrate themselves for hours upon end cadging campaign money. It is a waste of valuable time that should be spent listening to everyday citizens, not to special pleaders." That is, in a nutshell, the argument The Boston Globe makes for revitalizing the presidential public financing system, and it's right on.


The Peril of Promises

Embattled Rep. John Doolittle(R-CA) is trying to get back on the good side of his constituents after barely keeping his seat in the 2006 mid-term elections. Trying to put his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and allegations of unethical fundraising activity behind him, he's promising greater accountability, and more attention to constituents. A fine gesture, but can he be for real?


Fundraising First

The presidential election is starting to feel a little like the holiday season: it comes earlier each time, costs more, and you really get sick of the commercials. Except when the elections are over, rather than being left with a mountain of holiday debt, you've got a President in debt to wealthy special interests.