Monday, January 22, 2007

The $100,000 Question

Do you think it matters whether those who seek Party office have a track record of contributing to the Party? Over at Blog for Democracy, I read that at Saturday's candidate forum, Mike Berlon promised that, if elected, he would give the DPG $25,000.00 each year of his term . That's a total of $100,000 for the four years. Then, last night a candidate for one of the other offices called me and offered that they had personally given more than $100,000.00 to Democratic candidates during the last cycle. (I am checking that particular claim since I was not able to verify donations at that level by searching the Ethics Commission and Secretary of State websites. Maybe the contributions the person referred to were federal.)

Berlon's promise and the assertion of the other person raises a number of issues, but one that bubbles to the top of the list for me is whether or not the past political giving of an individual should be a factor when they are seeking party office. I did some of my own checking on the Ethics Commission website, and less extensively on the Secretary of State's site. I found some very, very interesting tidbits. I am not sharing them now because I want to make sure that the information I found is correct, but you may find it interesting to check here and search under last names of each candidate. Keep in mind that older records are stored on the Secretary of State's site, and I am sure that someone will blog in to tell me how to find the federal numbers.

For me, personally, I think that political giving, at whatever level a person can afford, is an important investment. I do think that there are other important ways to support the Party and candidates through volunteerism. When it comes to the money, the ability to raise money is more important to me than the willingness to write a personal check, though I think a chair should do both. What do you think? Does the money matter?


Roxanne Jekot said...


Your link to the Ethics Commission is bad.

Button Gwinnett said...

As you alluded to in your last paragraph, people do contribute in various ways. But it does say something about someone that is willing to put his/her money where her/his mouth is.

danielf said...

Mike has pledged to put his personal money where his mouth is and make a substantial contribution to kick off the fundriaising efforts.

He is also fully committed to raising serious money for the Party. You said a Chair should do both. He has pledged to do both. What's the issue?

Also, when Georgia Women Voted on your DPG Chair Poll, what did they say?

Jenna said...

I thought Mike's pledge was important, but it rang a bit hollow with that audience. He was asking people to vote for him and offering money--it felt a little off. I think promises like the one he made are ESSENTIAL when asking other people to give money. So, bottom line for Mike on Saturday--right message wrong audience.

I too have been wondering about some of the related money issues. On the one hand, I don't think that the amount of personal contribution should be a litmus test--people make contributions in all sorts of ways. For example, I aggregate donations from people I work with and hand over several checks to a candidate, which wouldn't be captured if you just looked at the amounts of my individual contributions.

I too was suspicious of the claim of personally contributing $100K to candidates. I assumed that was soft money of some kind--either relection money raised by an incumbent official, party money, who knows what else.

Finally, what about the $150K spent on one candidates GOTV effort? A one time expenditure with no future value to anybody but that candidate. Talk about reinventing the wheel.


Amy Morton said...

Sorry, I had an error in the post I deleted. Here it is again:

Well said, Jenna. I have been out of pocket all day and just turned on the computer. Thanks, Roxanne. I fixed the link. Daniel, I do think that the question of financial commitment to the Party has been made a front and center issue by Mike. Him doing so made me start wondering about the issue. I think that asking what role, if any, financial contributions should make in this race is a legitimate question, and I'm not the only State Committee member asking it.

Steve said...

Jenna - Your attention is invited to the video of the event. Did you not notice the resounding applause when Berlon stated he would put his own money into the development of our state party.

Please pay close attention at 3:23 of his speech

Hollow? I think not. As a matter of fact, I believe Berlon was the only candidate with any interrupted applause lines.