Republican Beutler outraising Democrat Long in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District Race

Please, make them stop! 

That’s my reaction to the blizzard of television ads running for Democrat Carolyn Long and Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler in their race for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. They’ve been pounding my brain for weeks, often one after the other, and I don’t even live in Washington.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by both candidates show they’ve been raising and spending money like drunken sailors. Together they’ve raised $7,461,992.01 and spent $5,547,062.56.

Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler / Democrat Carolyn Long

These are their individual numbers as of Sept. 30, 2020:

$ Raised$ Spent$ Cash on hand
Beutler3,916,946.212,229,341.641,736,571.30
Long3,545,045.803,317,720.92 257,476.51

And this doesn’t even count the money spent by supportive committees, such as the Republican’s Congressional Leadership Fund, or by dark money groups that aren’t required to disclose their donors.

Beutler can take some satisfaction in knowing she has a lot more cash on hand to spend in the closing days of the campaign and that she’s outraising Long, going against the national trend of Democrats bringing in more total cash in House races.

But Beutler and Long are still a small part of the political spending this election. Open Secrets, the data website of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit research group tracking money in U.S. politics, is predicting that the 2020 election will near $11 billion in total spending, smashing records.

“The 2018 election smashed fundraising records for midterms, and 2020 is going to absolutely crush anything we’ve ever seen — or imagined — before” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Top Contributors in Beutler/Long Race

Top Contributors to Jaime Herrera BeutlerTotal
Winning for Women$21,800
Blue Cross/Blue Shield$17,807
Emergent Biosolutions$15,600
Fisher Investments$13,200
Pro-israel America PAC$12,200
Boeing Co$12,009
L&E Bottling Co$11,800
Blackstone Group $11,217
Crow Holdings$11,206
Clearpath Foundation$11,200
Source: OpenSecrets.org
Top Contributors to Carolyn LongTotal
Emily’s List$47,165
Democracy Engine$32,075
Amazon.com$20,200
Microsoft Corp$20,013
End Citizens United $18,700
University of Washington$18,491
United for A Strong America$16,200
Tableau Software$12,300
Vancouver Public Schools$11,840
Barr Foundation$11,200
Source: OpenSecrets.org

These tables list the top donors to candidates in the 2019-2020 House election cycle The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Outside Groups Spending Money in this Race

CommitteeTypeAll 2020 Total
RED – ClearPath ActionSuperPAC$65,000
RED – Congressional Leadership FundSuperPAC$406,125
RED – Defending Main StreetSuperPAC$78,222
BLUE – Democratic Congressional Campaign CmtePAC$468,404
BLUE – Fuse Washington501c$54,761
RED – Governing Majority FundSuperPAC$103,674
RED – National Republican Congressional CmtePAC$491,052
BLUE – Oneamerica Votes 501c$4,748
BLUE – Sierra Club Independent ActionSuperPAC$10
RED – WFW Action FundCarey$2
RED – Winning for WomenPAC$218
RED – Conservative group; BLUE – Liberal group
Source: OpenSecrets.org

Bloomberg’s money: now what?

bloombergmoney2

Democrats, eager to position themselves as the good guys in the campaign finance debate, weren’t real happy about all that Bloomberg money flowing into the primary campaign.

Bloomberg spent an estimated $500 million in just 100 days on slick TV ads, mailers, about 2400 staff spread around the country and for political-data and polling. Critics, including his Democratic primary opponents, accused him of trying to buy the nomination.

But now that Bloomberg has abandoned his campaign, will the Democrats become more accepting of his pledge to keep spending millions to help Democrats win the presidency and other races in the general election?

Bernie Sanders has said he wants to win with small dollar individual contributions. He’s also said he wouldn’t welcome Bloomberg’s big money help. Joe Biden, who has a history of decrying the role of wealthy people and special interests in elections, has been considerably more flexible in practice.

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Open Secrets, a nonpartisan website by the Center for Responsive Politics that tracks the effects of money and lobbying on elections and public policy, Sanders has raised $134,069,993, about one-third of that in large contributions.

In contrast, the Biden for President committee has raised $68,281,49, about two-thirds of that in large contributions:

A pro-Biden SuperPAC, Unite the Country, has raised an additional $7,919,417 from just 163 donors, with employees of the top three donors (Masimo Corp; Blum Capital Partners; Marcus & Millichap) giving $1 million each. A Leadership PAC, American Possibilities, has donated $432,948 more.

If Bloomberg decides to follow through on his pledge to spend millions to defeat Trump, there are no limits on what he can spend. Since he’s worth an estimated $60 billion, he could be a very big player.

He would be prohibited from coordinating his spending decisions with the eventual Democratic nominee, but that is honored more in the breach than the observance. .

Biden says on his presidential campaign website that he will “reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics.”

“Biden strongly believes that we could improve our politics overnight if we flushed big money from the system and had public financing of our elections,” his website says. “Democracy works best when a big bank account or a large donor list are not prerequisites for office, and elected representatives come from all backgrounds, regardless of resources. But for too long, special interests and corporations have skewed the policy process in their favor with political contributions.”

So much for empty rhetoric.

If Biden wins the Democratic nomination, neither he nor the Democratic Party will try to stop Bloomberg from pouring his money into the campaign to defeat Trump. You can bet on it.

The Democratic presidential candidates and Oregon: they could care less

Digital advertising is one of the key elements of the campaigns of Democrats running for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Data show that some candidates are shouting, while others are barely whispering.

According to Acronym, a progressive non-profit that tracks political digital spending, the candidates are paying Facebook and Google millions for digital ads, but spending in Oregon is barely a blip, .

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is the biggest spender so far.  She has spent $1,688,706 on digital ads (Facebook: $1,218,206; Google: $470,500) since launching her campaign.

WarrenLaunch

Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks during her presidential candidacy announcement event at the Everett Mills in Lawrence, MA on February 9, 2019.

The second biggest spender on Facebook and Google digital ads is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). She has spent $1,640,339 (Facebook: $1.2 million; Google: $438,000).

Altogether, the Democratic candidates have spent $12,805,165 on Facebook and Google digital ads since launching their individual campaigns.

digitalspending

Yes, President Trump has spent $9,080,994, outspending every Democratic candidate.

What states have been targeted with all that money?

If you look at the top five states targeted by each of the candidates with Facebook ads, California takes the lead. It’s one of the top five targets of 15 candidates. Then there’s Iowa, which has its caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020.  It’s in the top five lists of nine candidates. Next is Texas, one of the top five states of eight candidates.

Even though New Hampshire has its primary early on Feb. 11, 2020, it’s only in the top five spending list for Facebook ads of three Democratic candidates: Pete Buttigieg, John DeLaney; and Tulsi Gabbard.

Then there’s Oregon. Oregon’s not in the top five list of any of the Democratic candidates and it’s only in the top ten list of two, Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro. But even Sanders has applied only 3.3% ($41,502) of his Facebook spending to Oregon and Castro only 2% ($8,379).

The lack of digital attention to Oregon may well be because the state’s primary isn’t until May 19, 2020, real late in the game, and it has only 52 delegates. If a candidate is trying to harvest a lot of delegates, focusing on the states with earlier primaries, including Super Tuesday, March 3, when 1433 delegates will be at stake, makes more sense.

Sorry, Oregon. You just don’t matter.

 

Addendum, May 5, 2019

The Democratic National Committee announced in late April that 2020 presidential candidates will each need to hit 130,000 donors to qualify for the third and fourth televised debates in the fall. Vice According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Vice News’s David Uberti reported that the high threshold may force longshot contenders to spend more on Facebook ads than they get back in donations—limiting their resources for more traditional forms of campaigning. In all, political ad spending is expected to near the $10-billion mark in 2020, up from $6.3 billion in 2016. The Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Bruell has the figures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Wyden doesn’t need your donation

wydenmoney

Senator Ron Wyden wants me to know he cares about “real people”. And, by the way, he wants my money, too.

Wyden, who already had $3,398,289 in his campaign account as of the end of 2016, just sent out one more of his voluminous e-mails highlighting how he’s fighting for truth, justice and the American way. He’s also pleading for donors to step up and help him with a $7, $24, $36 or $125 contribution.

This from a Senator who raised $12,628,463 during his previous term, almost all of it from big business and affluent individual contributors and just 5 percent ($664,664) from the little people, according to OpenSecrets.org.

This from a Senator who already has $3,398,289 in cash sitting in his campaign account and may not even run again. After all, Wyden’s already been a member of Congress for 36 years and is going to turn 68 years old on May 3. He’ll be 73 during his next campaign if he runs again. That would make him almost 80 at the end of that term.

Yes, I know, there are 14 senators who are 74 or older, with the oldest, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), both 83. And the Senate is a place where politicians with high self-regard and legions of sycophantic staff can come to love living in a special bubble and can see themselves as irreplaceable.

But, is Wyden, who is wealthy and has three young children with his wife Nancy, whom he married in 2005, going to want to do his 24 X 7 Senate job until he’s almost 80?

My bet is Senator Wyden doesn’t need your minuscule individual contribution. Give your money to a non-profit that’s doing great work, instead. The world will be better for it.

 

 

Big campaign donations are evil, says Senator Ron Wyden, but keep them coming

 

senatorronwyden

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)  is running for-reelection. So he’s hitting up his constituents.

“Sign the petition calling for affordable housing solutions,” his email said on Sunday. “We need more affordable housing and we need it now. I’ve proposed new legislation to encourage, support, and accelerate the construction of affordable housing nationwide.”

And if you sign the petition, he asks for money, with choices ranging from $5 to $500 or more.

If you sign the petition, you also get a thank you message and another request for money, this time with choices of $7, $24, $36 or $125.

All these appeals from a Senator who, according to OpenSecrets.org,  had $7,557,657 of campaign contributions in the bank as of his last fundraising report on June 30. In comparison, his Republican opponent in this 2016 Senate race, Mark Callahan, had a measly $4,546 on hand.

And just 27 percent of the money Wyden has raised for his current race has come from donors within Oregon, with 73 percent ($5,420,369) coming from out of state.

In the meantime, while asserting that big donors undermine democracy, Wyden has been pulling in money from big donors big time.

Over the past six years, the biggest donors have been some really big players, like Nike Inc., Intel Corp., and Berkshire Hathaway.

campaignfinancebigdonors

If you think about it, why does Wyden, who’s 67, need such a big war chest? If he’s re-elected, as he likely will be, he’ll be 73 at the end of his next term and will have spent 42 years in Congress. Won’t that be enough?

If Wyden truly believes there’s too much money corrupting politics, with big donors of particular concern, why not take a break from fundraising? A lot of us would welcome the time-out.

(Good grief. I just got one more email fundraising plea from Wyden. This time, he’s asking me to contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more. Will the next plea be for $10,000 or more?)

Donations to Senator Ron Wyden 2011-2016 (Source: OpenSecrets.org)

These numbers don’t reflect donations from organizations themselves, but from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Rank Contributor Total
1 Nike Inc. $124,222
2 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $105,900
3 League of Cons. Voters $75,012
4 Intel Corp. $74,307
5 Akin, Gump et al $70,155
6 Berkshire Hathaway $57,900
7 DaVita HealthCare Partners $50,750
8 Metlife Inc. $48,507
9 DLA Piper $43,700
10 King & Spalding $42,560

Hillary’s money grab (with help from a few Oregonians)

hillarycampaignmoney

Bill Clinton must have thought we all forgot his history when he began his 2016 Democratic Convention speech with the cringeworthy, “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl.” Oh my God, where’s he going, millions of viewers probably wondered.

But Bill didn’t continue about his sexual exploits. Instead, he went on to call his wife, a “change-maker”. Given the amount of money she’s raising for her presidential campaign, she’d be better named a “money-maker”.

This despite her proclamation, “Our democracy should work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

“There’s no question that we need to make Washington work much better than it does today,” Hillary said on June 22, 2016. “And that means, in particular, getting unaccountable money out of our politics. … That’s why I’m so passionate about this issue, and I will fight hard to end the stranglehold that the wealthy and special interests have on so much of our government.”

But Hillary Clinton and her supporters have been dogged in their pursuit of campaign money.

Clinton clearly likes the big givers the most and cultivates them assiduously. At an event at the Sag Harbor, N.Y. estate of hedge fund magnate Adam Sender a family photo with Clinton went for $10,000, according to attendees. For a $2,700 donation donors’ children under 16 could ask Clinton a question.

 More than 1,100 elite moneymen and women, called Hillblazers, have together raised better than $113 million for Clinton, operating as bundlers who collect checks from friends or associates, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

Hillblazers are individuals who have contributed and/or raised $100,000 or more for Hillary for America, the Hillary Victory Fund, and/or the Hillary Action Fund since the launch of Clinton’s campaign on April 12, 2015.

Among the list of high-profile Clinton bundlers, which includes actor Ben Affleck, filmmaker George Lucas, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and fashion designer Vera Wang, are a few (very few) people who list themselves as Oregonians:

  • Timothy Boyle, president and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, and his wife, Mary Boyle.
  • Peter Bragdon, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary, Columbia Sportswear
  • Carol Butler, Principal, Carol Butler and Associates, Democratic campaign consultant
  • Dwight Holton, former U.S. Attorney for Oregon/ defeated by Ellen Rosenblum in 2012 Democratic primary for Oregon Attorney General, and his wife, Mary Ellen Glynn, chief of staff to Anne Holton, wife of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
  • Jane Paulson, a Portland personal injury lawyer at the law firm of Paulson Coletti.

The money has flowed into Hillary Clinton’s campaign organization, Democratic Party committees and so-called independent outside groups.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Clinton and her acolytes had raised a total of $698,169,981 as of the end of last month, and pushing for $1 billion.

Presidential fundraising through Aug. 31, 2016

Category Clinton  
Candidate $373,281,866
National Party $181,378,218
Outside Spending $143,509,897
Total $698,169,981

Most of this money has come from large donors.

Clinton’s campaign, for example, has raised nearly $300 million in large contributions, or donations bigger than $200, the threshold for detailed disclosure of donor information, according to OpenSecrets.

Only about 19 percent of her contributions (roughly $70.7 million) have come in smaller amounts. Obama, in contrast, received about 37 percent of his contributions in amounts of $200 or less through August in his 2012 campaign.

So much for ending the stranglehold that the wealthy have on our government.

Wall St: embedded like a tick in politics

For all the talk about Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, she’s hardly the only presidential candidate Wall Street is investing in.

No matter who wins the Democratic and Republican nominations and the November election, the securities and investment industry will be embedded like a tick in Washington.

occupy-wall-street-political-cartoon-lobbyistsThe industry is one of the top interest groups supporting members of the 113th Congress so far during the 2015-2016 election cycle, with $157,708,874 in contributions that have been spread on both sides of the aisle like honey.

For example, the campaign committee and leadership PAC of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have taken in $2,244,256 while the campaign committee and leadership PAC of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have collected $1,342,094.

In 2015, the securities and investment industry contributed $102 million to all the candidates and their super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In fact, the industry led all industries tracked by the Center in terms of contributions.

This continues a pattern begun in the 2012 election cycle when the securities and investment industry became the single largest source of political contributions. In that cycle, the industry was responsible for $283 million in contributions, most of it coming from individuals who work in the industries, rather than corporate PACs, according to the Center.

Considering just the current candidates, the industry was the top donor to Clinton ($17.2 million) and Rubio ($9.9 million) in 2015 when their campaign committees and super PACs are combined. In addition, the industry’s contributions represented a significant share of total contributions to Cruz ($12.2 million).

The industry was no slouch in supporting some of the candidates who have dropped out either. Ron Paul took in $4.3 million and Fiorina $2.8 million from the industry, though the industry poured the most money down the drain with Bush, contributing $34 million to his campaign.

So don’t count on popular angst about Wall Street’s role translating into diminished influence for Wall Street after the 2016 presidential election.

Just sayin’.

Gov. Brown & campaign finance reform: time to silence the megaphone

Governor Kate Brown says she wants campaign finance reform.

“No one should be able to buy a megaphone so big it drowns out every other voice,” Brown said last year. “It’s time to reopen conversations about reasonable campaign limits in Oregon.”

megaphone-review-abuse

But Brown can safely advocate campaign finance reform now because if it is imposed it won’t be until after her next race and all the usual suspects of unions, attorneys, and hangers-on have already contributed to her re-election campaign, some in jaw-dropping amounts.

A review of the records of the Kate Brown Committee during 2015-2016 (below) reveals dozens of $10,000 and up contributors, so there’s obviously no shortage of people and organizations willing to shovel out cash to ensure Brown has a big megaphone.

The Kate Brown Committee has already received contributions during 2015-2016 totaling $1,646,337 and has a current balance of $1,123,196.

Some of those contributions look like payback, such as the $100,000 contribution from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) following the state’s generous contract agreement with the labor union in 2015 and Governor Brown’s support for big increases in the minimum wage.

Other union contributions are undoubtedly intended to keep Brown on the straight and narrow in terms of supporting union agendas.

Another $10,000-and-over contribution that looks like payback is one from the Motor Vehicle Software Corporation, a California-based creator of DMVdesk electronic vehicle registration (EVR) software. The company began a phased introduction of its title and registration solutions, as well as training program, in Oregon last year. This is part of the company’s plan to automate registration nationwide.

I don’t doubt that there are more questionable contributions.

If Brown sincerely believes no one should be able to buy a megaphone, she could start by limiting her own contributions now.

______

Gov. Kate Brown’s $10,000-and-over contributors, listed on the Secretary of State’s website, are noted below:

Contributor/Payee Amount Aggregate Amount
Laborers’ Political League 75000 75000
Democratic Governors Association 10544.83 10544.83
James Summerton 10000 10000
Nike Inc. and Affiliates 10000 10000
Deloitte Services LP 10000 10000
AllCare Management Services, LLC 10000 10000
Stoll, Stoll, Berne, Lokting &Shlachter, PC 10000 10000
AFSCME 100000 100000
Jon Stryker 25000 25000
Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon (4327) 10000 10000
DaVita Total Renal Care Inc 10000 10000
The Corson and Johnson Law Firm PC 10000 10000
Democratic Governors Association 10624.47 64920.75
John Koza 10000 10000
Oregon School Employees Assoc. – Voice of Involved Classified Employees (2307) 10000 10000
Global Companies LLC 10000 10000
Josh Kardon 10000 10000
Joshua Steiner 10000 10000
Motor Vehicle Software Corporation 10000 10000
Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572) 10000 35000
Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton 10000 10000
Steve Silberstein 10000 10000
Pfizer, Inc. 10000 10000
Timothy Quenelle 10000 10000
Kafoury & McDougal 10000 10000
Rosenthal Greene & Devlin PC 10000 10000
The Barton Law Firm, P.C. 10000 10000
jeffrey Bowersox 10000 10000
Johnson, Johnson & Schaller, PC 10000 10000
Erin Olson 10000 12500
D’Amore Law Group, PC 10000 10000
Tichenor & Dziuba LLP 10000 10000
Miller & Wagner LLP 10000 10000
Piucci Law 10000 10000
Mark Bocci 10000 10000
James Kelly 10000 10000
Linda Eyerman 10000 10000
Katherine Keane 10000 10000
Joseph Hawes 10000 12500
Charles Paulson 10000 10000
Stan Amy 20000 20000
Jane Paulson 10000 12000
Teevin Brothers Land & Timber 10000 10000
John Coletii 10000 10000
Democratic Governors Association 40000 54296.28
James Fuiten 10000 10000
Willamette Dental Management Corp. 10000 10000
Junki Yoshida 10000 10000
Democratic Governors Association 14296.28 14296.28
Robert Ball 10000 10000
Oregon State Fire Fighters Council 10000 10000
Barbara Lee 10000 10000
Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572) 25000 25000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hillary wants campaign finance reform….later.

Frankly, it makes me sick.

votecounts.gif

Hillary Clinton says she wants aggressive campaign finance reform to end the stranglehold that wealthy interests have over our political system and restore a government of, by, and for the people—not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee are working arm in arm to jigger campaign finance rules to spur more donations from fat cats. Maybe they figure nobody cares.

 

hillary-clintonWhatdoesitmatter

What difference at this point does it make?

In 2008, when Obama was running for president, he set in place restrictions that banned donations to the Democratic National Committee from federal lobbyists and political action committees. The Washington Post just reported that the Committee has rolled back those restrictions, opening up the floodgates for more big money to go to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

The Victory Fund collects money from big donors and then distributes it to Clinton’s campaign and 33 state Democratic Party committees. According to the Post, a recent Clinton solicitation asked supporters to give up to $366,100 to the fund. Her campaign then received $2,700 of the total for the primary period, while the rest went to the DNC and 33 state party committees.

The largest donor to the Victory Fund to date is the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which has donated $366,400. Portola Valley, CA philanthropist Laure Woods, president of the Lyme Foundation, has also donated $750,000 to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, according to OpenSecrets.org.

In December 2015, NPR reported that Clinton can now ask donors to give nearly three-quarters of a million dollars each. Here’s how:

According to NPR, Donors who are rich — and willing — can give $5,400 to the Clinton campaign, $33,400 to the Democratic National Committee and $10,000 to each of the state parties, about $360,000 in all. A joint fundraising committee lets the donor do it all with a single check.

On Jan. 1, the contribution limits reset for the party committees, and the Hillary Victory Fund can go back to its donors for another $350,000 in party funds.

All told, a single donor can give more than $700,000 for the election. That’s a hell of  lot more than most of us could ever afford.

OpenSecrets.org recently revealed how complicated and corrupt this whole process has become. Open Secrets noted that the Hillary Victory Fund reported taking in $26.9 million during 2015 and has transferred $7.4 million to the participants as of Feb. 19, 2016. The largest single contributions to this joint effort are not $86,000 (which would have been roughly the limit had the rules not been struck down) but rather $358,400 –including $2,700 to the Clinton campaign for the primary and $2,700 for the general along with $33,400 to the DNC and as much as $320,000 to state party committees.

These contributions would seem to have improved the financial health of many state party organizations that would never have received support from many of their donors without the JFC process.

But the way the contributions were used tells another story, OpenSecrets said. Virtually none of the $1.86 million given to state parties as of mid-February2016 spent more than one night with its designated recipient. In nearly every case, all of the funds given to state parties by the Hillary Victory Fund were immediately sent to the DNC. This structure has allowed a small number of elite Democratic donors to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the DNC for the purpose of affecting the presidential campaign.

If you are a federal lobbyist, the revised DNC rules amount to a shakedown. Donate more or your failure to do so will be remembered. If you’re a regular Joe (or Jane), you’re out of luck.