Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dueling Dollars

Corporate Sponsors for McGavick:
The (Washington)State Democratic Party has posted a list of McGavick's corporate sponsors. The list comes straight from McGavick's recently-released FEC report:

Insurance Industry: In addition to McGavick’s illegal $28 million golden parachute from his time as an insurance CEO, members of the insurance industry have shelled out more than $275,000—almost $65,000 in new FEC disclosures alone—directly to bankroll McGavick’s campaign. McGavick previously served as a lobbyist for the American Insurance Association, and his contributions from the insurance industry top all other special interest funders of his campaign.

Big Oil: McGavick, a big supporter of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, raked in another $8500 from the PACs of big oil – including another $4000 from ExxonMobil’s PAC ($5000 total to date), $2000 from BP’s PAC and $2500 from Conoco Phillips’s PAC.

Halliburton: McGavick accepted $1000 from Halliburton’s PAC, even as the company remains mired in scandal relating to abuse surrounding no-bid contracts Iraq and ties to VP Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force.

Social Security Privatizers: McGavick raked in another $4000 from the Financial Services Roundtable PAC, for a total of $5000 to date. The Roundtable is a group of approximately 100 CEOs of the largest financial services companies in the nation, who are at the forefront of the push for Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. The Roundtable has already hosted two separate fundraisers for McGavick.

Rx Money: Even as McGavick fails to support drug re-importation from Canada, he accepted $2000 from Pfizer’s PAC, and another $10,000 from the PAC of Express-Scripts, one of the largest prescription benefit managers (PBM) in the country.

Ted Stevens: McGavick took a $2000 personal check from his good friend Ted Stevens – who appears to be making good on his pledge to seek revenge against Maria Cantwell for standing up and successfully blocking oil drilling in Alaska. FEC records show that Senator Stevens doesn’t donate much personally to other candidates, and has never written a check of this size to someone challenging a colleague.

It's hard not to compare such sponsorship to that of top sports figures who speak for their car or beer sponsors in return for the funds that pay their expenses for competing. This list tells us pretty much who will get McGavick's attention if he becomes our Senator and who will help him write the bills that he will introduce in Congress. It used to be that corporations supported former Congressional staff who had proved loyal or lobbyists they knew well for public office. With McGavick, former CEO of Safeco, they are now eliminating the middleman. They are going straight for office themselves.

Let's not allow that.(Evergreen Politics).

Feingold leads Democrats in share of small donations:

As he explores a 2008 presidential bid, Sen. Russ Feingold has raised a little more than $2 million this year, putting him ahead of some potential Democratic rivals and well behind others.

But in one respect, Feingold's fund raising sets him apart. Unlike any other '08 prospect in his party, his early money is coming mostly from small donors.

In the first half of 2006, the Wisconsin senator raised 62% of his funds from people giving $200 or less, a much higher share than any other potential candidate. His total of roughly $1.3 million in small donations is topped only by Hillary Clinton, by far the dominant Democratic fund-raiser.

Whether Feingold has the ability to finance a presidential campaign remains to be seen. He says he won't make a decision about running until after the November elections.
Cultivating small donors can be expensive. Although some small donors make unsolicited contributions online, many are solicited through costly mail appeals. Feingold's reports show his political action committee has spent almost $300,000 this year on direct mail and more than $70,000 on phone appeals.

"It's the most expensive form of fund raising known to man," political analyst Charlie Cook said of direct mail, terming that a potential downside to relying too much on small donors. The strongest campaigns achieve a balance between large and small donors, he said.

The payoff to that investment is the development of lengthy donor lists that can be tapped regularly. Spokesman Trevor Miller said more than 25,000 people this year have given to either Feingold's Senate committee or his political action committee, the Progressive Patriots Fund.

Miller would not say what share of Feingold's small donations have been made online, which costs a campaign little. In an interview last month, Feingold expressed confidence that if he ran, he'd be able to tap the growing potential of the Internet as a fund-raising tool.

"I think it would explode if we went in that direction," he said.(Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

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