campaign contributions

Freshman Orientation

There will be a lot of new faces on Capitol Hill come January and as The Hill reports this morning, their first few months will be like the first day you sign up for Facebook: friend requests galore.

I need $20k in campaign contributions stat.

Like we've seen with the meltdown of the financial sector, a lack of regulation leads to problems. Too often, deregulation and lack of oversight are lobbied by the industries forking over big bucks in campaign contributions to make sure they get what they want. In a column from Iowa this weekend, an advocate for senior citizens looks at the nursing home industry in the same light.

Look at the facts

This morning, the Star Ledger in New Jersey editorialized about the presidential public financing system, saying it’s a ”struggling initiative” and is “buried and left for dead.” While the 1974-version of public financing might be dead, there’s increasing support at the state and federal level to fix the presidential system and enact Clean Elections-style full public financing.

More money, more victories

The Center for Responsive Politics reports today that the average cost of winning a House race in 2008 was $1.1 million. And that $1 million, more often than not, decided who was going to be victories on Tuesday.

 

According to CRP:


A little excessive

When you have to raise so much money to win an election, sometimes it's easy to let excess campaign contributions slide. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) will have to pay about $100,000 in fines for receiving more than $313,000 in excessive campaign contributions in his 2004 election bid.

 

According to Roll Call this morning (the third story on the page):

 

$5 Billion?

Our friends over at the indispensable Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) have made their prediction for the cost of the 2008 elections: $5.3 billion. Yes, that's a b. And that's a huge increase from the $4 billion raised in 2004.

 

According to CRP, "At $5.3 billion, the 2008 contests will add up to the most expensive U.S. election in history (and, thus, probably the most expensive election the world has ever seen)."

 

Dropping campaign contributions, not calls

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Cindy McCain, wife of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) received free cell towers to benefit cell phone service to her ranch in Sedona, AZ. While these free portable towers are usually used for outages by Verizon and AT&T, Cindy McCain got one each from both of the them because of spotty service.

 

Signs of Shame?

Once bitten twice shy? Or actually, bitten quite a few times and now at least marginally chastised: it appears that years of scandal have taken their toll on the party schedule surrounding the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this week. There are still parties-a-plenty put on by lobbying powerhouses and corporations alike but the glitz is a bit more muted this time out.

Party Animals

Who knows, maybe the curbs on ostentatious currying of favor with lawmakers inside the Beltway (no golf games funded by Exxon! No sandwiches!) have sent corporations and their lobbyists into overdrive because they're packing in enough partying (read: writing checks to candidates) during the conventions in Denver and the Twin Cities to stay hungover well into October.

Under Surveillance

Just how well are those new ethics laws working out when it comes to corporations and their lobbyists throwing big parties for lawmakers attending the party conventions this week and next? The watchdogs of Washington, DC are looking to find out and now they're in Denver paying visits -- or at least trying to -- to the many events being put on by companies with a very real interest in getting legislators on their side.