Off the Bus, On the Money

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Public Campaign's Nancy Watzman contributes to two more features in the "Off the Bus" campaign analysis series at Huffington Post. In one, Tim Frasca revisits the campaign donation angle behind the decision by leading Republican presidential contenders to skip a debate at an historically black university. In the second, Alycia Dolan investigates the newest high-dollar political donors: high school students. Kids today...

Frasca points to a correlation between candidates who turned down the invitation to debate at Morgan State University (claiming they needed the time to fundraise) and their having received campaign contributions from companies accused of racism:


The most egregious case is that of the banking house of Morgan Stanley that gave money to the three top Republican contenders during the same week of the minority debate. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) filed a civil rights complaint against Morgan Stanley and its mortgage lender subsidiary Saxon Capital three days before the debate. It was the first challenge against a Wall Street mortgage bundler that alleges redlining in minority communities throughout the United States under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

But Romney, McCain, Thompson and Giuliani weren't a bit inhibited from passing the hat at a company that saddled the gullible with sure-fail housing loans while bypassing qualified minority borrowers. While they didn't feel up to engaging black and Latino questioners at the debate, all but McCain eagerly vacuumed up a total of at least $40,000 that week from Morgan Stanley employees, according to campaign finance reports filed with the FEC (Morgan Stanley executives have given to McCain on other occasions.)

Perhaps in turning down the invitation, McCain et al. weren't aware of the untapped seam of campaign cash running through the younger generation -- well, perhaps Mitt Romney was. Alycia Dolan, citing Romney's campaign in particular, notes that the children of wealthy donors are showing up on the donor rolls right alongside their parents. In a bit of bundling, family-style, they give the maximum contribution to the same candidate as their parents. Oh, what ever happened to teenage rebellion?