« The Verdict is in on Medicare | Main | Clarke's resignation letter »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Rick Hasen has a post with a link to a long paper on this topic.


Public Campaign Action Fund, a group affiliated with the reform advocates at Public Campaign, held a contest to give a name to the half-million contributors;

How about "Ambassador"?

russ e

Ambassador would certainly be the traditional term.

I don't know why full and immediate disclosure with no limits is disingenous. Money will flow into politics whatever legal limits are attempted [see 527s]. It is better that the money is all open and above board.

George Soros can commit millions in secret to 527s. Wouldn't we want to know that?

Wouldn't it be fine if a Soros or a Gates were able to put big money into an unfinanced but otherwise wonderful congressional candidate--to make him or her a player? Sure, as long as we all knew that was what was happening.

In fact, congressmen and state legislators spend an inordinate amount of time hustling small donations that would be better spent being legislators.

Wouldn't most candidates in tight races routinely be forced to disclose their donors voluntarily? Only entrenched incumbents would be immune.

Hiding contributors is a fever dream. A big donor would only need to have the cancelled check framed for the congress critter's inner lobby as an effective form of proof.

By the way, having the address, etc., of campaign donors also insures that foreigners can't try to buy our elections. Elections should be an entirely domestic market.


There's a certain amount of chicken/egg dilemma in dealing with strategic lying. Sen A is for tort reform. He gets money from HMOs. Sen B is against tort reform. She gets money from trial lawyers. Which came first? Their beliefs or the money.

And as far as keeping it secret, a cancelled check to 'political campaigns' doesn't say much.

Mark Schmitt

Just to clarify, in response to Russ E -- and this is particularly important because I do work for a foundation funded by George Soros -- I absolutely think large contributions such as Soros's to 527s should be disclosed. I think there's less public value in disclosing every $2,000. However, I also think such contributions should be limited -- they should not go directly to candidates. The question of whether they can go to committees that are not connected to candidates, that operate completely independently, is one that the FEC will take up this month. I may have more to say about it soon.


We have disclosure now and does anyone think that the system is working well? I think the complete nondisclosure idea deserves more airtime in the debate than it is currently getting.

The fear of course is in implementation. If someone could prove to a candidate that he or she gave an outrageous sum to their campaign then the entire system breaks down.

If as Bill Bradley often repeated, money in politics is like ants in the kitchen, it will crawl through any opening to get in, then perhaps we should concentrate on the effects of money rather than the money itself. Nondisclosure, if it can be done successfully, may address that.


What if a Repub./Dem. boss sees an employee's name on the contributor list of the opposing party?

d' Coriolis

This is a stupid dichotomy.

How about full public financing?

Nell Lancaster

What d' Coriolis said...

The current system is legalized bribery, period. As long as it prevails, contributions should being public is the lesser of the evils.


The issue of "privacy" on donations to a political party or person is very real to me and I will try to describe my experience following the 2000 election.

At the time, I was living in Wisconsin and I had sent donations to the DNC. Even though I travel and have friends in many parts of the US, my travels to Florida were limited to one business trip in the fall of 2000 and a trip to WDW back around 1976. I had no friends, families or anyone that I would have considered to be someone I would associate with living in the Orlando area.

Three days after the Supreme Court ruling regarding the FL election (the equalate of a judiial junta and installation of Bush in the WH) I receive a post card in the mail. It was addressed to me directly, by hand. It was dated the day of the supreme court decision and post marked "Orlando, FL". On the back of the card was a "hand written" note saying, "How do you like your Gore SHITBURGER now?"

Since my contacts in national elections was about as close to "0" as you can get and because I had only donated to the DNC, it was my assumption that the DNC contributor list was "acquired" by operatives of the republican party and that I was one of hundreds, if not thousands, who received such a note.

Given this effort by whomever in the Repubican party that could be so hateful and spiteful and, given that in today's world information (personal, financial, etc) is so easily obtained, I would find that establishing some confidential method of donations comforting.

Barnabas Sackett

I have a similar fear to ArkansasJoseph's. If people feel strongly enough about something to vandalize lawn signs because they are for someone they disagree with and vandalize automobiles because they are SUV's it's not inconceivable that these same people would use a list like this to target homes and families as well. The post card to ArkansasJoseph is deplorable but the tactics aren't limited to supporters of just one party, that's why the voting booth is private.

People need the right to hold their beliefs and support their candidates without fear of intimidation or threat to their person or property. Donors like Soros or the Hollywood crowd, etc. are more than willing to brag about how much they've given to a cause or a candidate. I am not. And unless I'm contributing to something illegal I shouldn't be forced to.

Marc Brazeau

I came across Fundrace.org the other day and it definitely felt a little creepy when I plugged in my address and found my self staring at the campaign contributions of my neighbors.

Often disclosure grouped by employer can lead to poor conclusions but they can also raise interesting and potential important issues.

Consider that Kerry's largest contributor is the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & From ($101,800) was paid $18,000 for legal services provided to Americans for Jobs, Healthcare and Progressive Values (The group that ran the Dean/Bin Laden ads) and the group's e-mail contact on their disclosure reports was a Skadden.com address.

Without looking at contributions by employer, such connections would be impossible to draw.

Not that anyone cared.

Certainly there is a lot of white noise in these kinds of employer categorized disclosure reports. But their are stories waiting to be told as well.

Mark Schmitt

Responding to Marc Brazeau: The example you cite is exactly why this employer characterization is misleading. Skadden, Arps has a lot of lawyers, some give to Kerry, plenty to Dean and others. (I happen to know some of the Dean supporters there.) At the same time, Skadden's Washington office has one of the three or four very good election law practices, led by Ken Gross. Anyone who starts a 527 like Americans for blah-blah-blah needs a good election lawyer, and there aren't that many of them. The fact that a particular firm agrees to provide that legal service, for its normal fee, does not have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the political preferences of anyone else at the firm. I know this is an old, stale story from the forgotten archives of Dean vs. Kerry, but it is nonetheless misleading.

GS Employee

Goldman sent a letter to all VP and above requesting donations to the Goldman PAC. Interestingly, there was no reference to to which candidates or party the PAC would donate to.

GS isn't exactly a hotbed of Republicanism, but the current CEO is personally very supportive of that party. Since $2000/head is nothing for most VP+ level executives it doesn't require much arm twisting to raise those kinds of funds if someone is motivated to do so. Moreover, most people on Wall Street have no problem "hedging" their bets and giving to both parties. The potential payoff can be enormous for everyone involved when it comes time to pass legislation friendly to Wall Street (or at least the old line investment banks) and senior executives are not blind to this so they gladly contribute.

Bottomline, if the next CEO happens to be supportive of the Democrats and organize for them then I would expect GS to lead in donations to the Democrats. Of course this suggests that Wall Street is largely indifferent to which party is in power. Or alternatively take slighly differing views of long term greed versus short term geed.

Marc Brazeau

While it's true that Skadden employees gave $20,054 to Dean and $28,450 to Clarke, I remain suspicous. My point is not that the numbers prove anything. Simply that they may point to something that maybe should be looked into. Raising $100,000 within a law firm for one candidate seems to me that there is some amount of organization at work there.

They weren't just a big donor. They were Kerry's biggest donor. By a lot. And who rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Dean's unravelling? Kerry. I don't want to exagerate the importantance of Americans for Jobs in taking down Dean. I don't mean to really rehash that.

It may be that it is a perfectly natural and innocent set of coincidences. I certainly know of plenty of circumstances when the banality of the world produces conspiracy like results. I do think that the employer compiled disclosures are worth looking at. However, you raise good points about why we shouldn't jump to conclusions about them.

And don't sell yourself short on being one of the best political blogs. You and David Neiwert at Ornicus are two of my favorite. I prefer the longer more considered posts to most other blogs.

Keep on truckin'!


wonderful pages. really great. i feel great if i´m here.

More information:
http://www.angespannt.de |
http://www.vilentium.de |
http://www.sol-web.de |
http://www.assizial.de |
http://www.wichtiger-hinweis.de |
http://www.under-suspect.de |
http://www.geheimnisvolle-seite.de |
http://www.schneef-loeckchen.de |
http://www.angenehmen-aufenthalt.de |
http://www.selten-angeklickt.de |
http://www.faqus.de |
http://www.komplett-verrrueckt.de |


Adio yoew eoidr.



Dioqw wo kwo.




belle ragazze
online kartenlegen
telefono erotico
filmati gay

The comments to this entry are closed.