Political Contributions

I knew that one could check who has contributed to political campaigns by name on the Open Secrets website. But now you can enter an address at the Fund Race 2004 website and find out who contributed to whom in that neighborhood. There are other ways to collate the information as well, some of which are available at these two websites.

It is an amazing tool, but at the same time there can be privacy concerns. The Decembrist has an interesting post on this topic.

Even if its value is limited, disclosure is probably better than no disclosure. We want to be able to answer the question, “Where does Congressman Jones’s money come from.” We don’t really need to know the answer to the question, “Who did Mrs. Smith give money to?,” certainly not within the realm of limited, hard money contributions. But you can’t have the answer to the first question without making the answer to the second available. With current technology, there’s nothing that prevents any bit of information from being cross-tabulated all kinds of ways, and this is just the beginning.

I think disclosure of campaign contributions is definitely important and overrides some of the privacy concerns of individuals.

While on the topic of contributions, I want to ask all of you to contribute something to the Kerry campaign. US citizens and permanent residents can donate money to political campaigns according to the FEC.

The Poor Man is running a contest for contributions to Kerry between Wes Clark supporters, Dean supporters, “Dennis Hecubus” supporters and those who think the others are losers. I recommend the last category.

Categorized as Politics

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. Al-Muhajabah: I know. That’s the Poor Man’s doing. That’s why there’s been no contributions to that one.

  2. Yeah, I followed the link to the Poor Man’s site and realized he had written it that way himself. That’s really unfortunate. If you’re asking people to do something for you, treat them with basic respect and courtesy when you make the request.

    At the current time, I feel that the best use of my very limited budget for political contributions is to support Kucinich to keep saying the things that he’s saying, because Kerry isn’t saying those things and I think they need to be said.

    If I contribute to Kerry, it won’t be until after the convention. He’s a lot better than Bush (almost anybody would be), but I have too little money to feel like I can donate it to people I don’t agree with that much when there’s a better alternative available. I haven’t decided yet and probably won’t until the time comes, but all I may ever do for Kerry is vote for him.

  3. Al-Muhajabah: I thought about whether I should keep it like he wrote it, change it to the correct name or simply omit it. I am not sure what would have been the better approach.

    I have done what I could for Kerry for now. If my financial situation changes for the better (which I hope it does soon), I might do more. Voting is of course not an option.

  4. I followed the link to the Poor Man’s site and realized he had written it that way himself. That’s really unfortunate. If you’re asking people to do something for you, treat them with basic respect and courtesy when you make the request.

    I think one needs to maintain a bit of balance and a sense of humour about this. After all there has been a fair amount of deprecatory digs directed at the TPM’s own favoured candidate (Wes Clark) as well. Apart from anything else, I thought it was the Democrats that had the ability to laugh at themselves from time to time and the humourless party on the other side, that overreacted to every slight swipe. My politics are pretty much to the left of the entire Democratic party but Kucinich is the candidate that probably comes closest to my position overall and were it legal/logistically possible for me to do so, I would have no problem in making a donation under his name.

    Also, I don’t think that the request is asking for some personal favour but a basic tool of electioneering – ie it has nothing to do with doing something for an individual but has more to do with political action and so the main reason one should be contributing is not because you are asked nicely but because you want a change in how policy is conducted and someone else in the White House. We are after all talking about very important differences in how certain issues are going to be decided and not pruchasing some sort of consumer durable, hence it surely would be a time to put up with some ribbing, even if it does grate on the nerves and get on with the task at hand. Especially more so, when the jibes come from those who while some distance on the political spectrum, are at least much closer and more importantly inhabit the sane band of this range; as opposed to the insane.

  5. What Conrad said, and, also, the whole point of the contest is to take advantage of intra-Democratic rivalry to encourage people to help the party. The whole point is to give money in order to show that other candidate’s supporters suck (which was a very popular passtime 3 months ago.) DK got the Hecubus treatment because people wrote me saying I should include a DK button, and then didn’t contribute anything. If DK supporters would like to contribute money to the contest, they would be perfectly within their rights to request that the Hecubus picture be taken down, and that the Wes Clark button be replaced, for example, with something referencing his resemblence to an unblinking turtle. Of course, no DK supporters contributed before the Hecubus era, and the only contributions received since then have been because people liked the Hecubus picture. So much for turning people off.

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