20 October 2008

Fund Raising Tricks

According to the New York Times, “Mr. McCain is now taking public financing for the general election, but he has continued to raise money through his joint fund-raising committees, something that frustrates campaign finance watchdogs, because they argue that a goal of public financing is to get candidates out of the private money-raising business.”

I just got a request from McCain-Palin Victory 2008, which is apparently a joint fund-raising committee; they’re asking for up to $5000 (which is well above the normal $2300 limit). So you don’t have to take the word of the NYT.

Say what you want about money and elections (and I tend to go with the Freakonomics idea that contributions reflect appeal rather than greatly influencing elections — certainly the fact that Obama is getting many small donations is significant), you can’t both condemn your opponent for not using the funding-limited public financing, and then also find a loophole to raise your own money. As far as I’m concerned, a letter with McCain’s signature asking for money is no different from a letter from Obama asking for money. The fact that it goes though the shell committee of McCain-Palin Victory 2008 instead of directly to Obama For America is a meaningless distinction. It’s a political donation to elect a specific candidate.

(Obama is also using joint fund-raising committees, but at least isn’t hypocritical about it.)

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