Friday, October 24, 2008

Campaign Financing - Late Night, Fragmented Thoughts

John McCain and Barack Obama made a pledge to voters during the primary season that, if each were nominated, and that the other agreed to public campaign financing, that each candidate would agree to public campaign financing. Barack Obama broke that pledge as soon as his campaign realized that it could raise the amount of money the FEC would give them for the whole campaign in less than two months. His campaign raised $150M in Spetember! John McCain was given $84M for his whole campaign by the FEC, but his campaign has access to more like $140M for the general election campaign. The difference is silly.

This may seem trite, but is no one suspicious of this amount of money? Can you imagine 150,000 Americans donating $1000 each in the month of September to a political campaign? Does this not seem far-fetched? Do you think that 1.5M people would donate $100 each, or 6M (1 out of every 50 people) people donating $25 each? Is our economy not in the midst of the worst downturn since the Great Depression? Where is this money coming from? The acceptance of public campaign financing means that a candidate can no longer accept money from private individuals. So McCain raised money for as long as he could from private individuals (the last number I saw for McCain fundraising was May 2008), then accepted $85M and had to stop accepting money from private individuals. Obama, however, has raised tons of money. I mean tons.

June - $52M - average donation in June $68 (765k donations in June)

Total After June: $296M

July - $51M - 65k new donors - more than 2M donors total
August - $66M - 500k new donors
September - $150M - 632k new donors

My math says that is $563,000,000 that Barack Obama has raised to get elected President. More than a half billion dollars. If we use the number in June for average donation, and assume that each donation was from a unique individual, that amounts to 8.2 million people making the average donation, or 2.75% of the population of the United States. More than one out of every forty people.

1 comment:

Tess said...

more disturbing... with the state of the economy... is how all of that money is being used I would think. Foreclosures, unemployment, poverty, and people are just handing money over to politics? Might be idealistic- but I wish that candidates would demonstrate their policies and where their priorities lie by using some of that campaign money to fund projects & causes. Never gonna happen... but I can dream. :)