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A Word On Money

One neat thing about this election cycle is that Bush-hatred has inspired a lot of the young people to throw little parties and other social events where they ask everyone to bring a $25 (or whatever) check for the Kerry campaign. Just got another evite right now. Word to the wise, though, is that donating to the Kerry campaign at this point is a very bad idea. He has a lot of cash on hand, and very little time in which to spend it. He's not allowed to save pre-convention cash and spend it afterwards. So if you want to raise money for someone, either adopt a Senate candidate (I like Brad Carson) or else figure out how you can funnel money to mysterious 527 outfits. John Kerry doesn't need your money, it's just going to go into some campaign staff tequila fund or something.

July 8, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

That is what Kos said also. However, I received a request from Kerry for more money just Tuesday (6 July). Which is correct - Kerry's request, or this statement?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer | Jul 8, 2004 4:45:30 PM

I just gave $25 of my astounding $26k salary to Kerry yesterday.

I can only imagine what people who are making, you know, real money, are giving ;-)

Posted by: Brad Reed | Jul 8, 2004 4:48:21 PM

No tequilla parties, Matt.

Any excess funds can be given legally to the DNC - which can spend it for GOTV activities or whatever.

Kerry can spend money in hand until 2 weeks after accepting the nomination, by FEC rules.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 8, 2004 5:07:07 PM

Why is Kerry still runnning those silly animation ads on nytimes.com? They ask for $50 contributions, and I'm sure they're not cheap to run.

Posted by: SP | Jul 8, 2004 5:10:43 PM


My understanding is that the Kerry folks want the money now because they can pay for advertising now that will run later. This is probably quadruple hearsay or something.

Posted by: Tyrone Slothrop | Jul 8, 2004 5:33:58 PM

Why does Prof Delong love Matthew Yglesias so?

http://pep.typepad.com/public_enquiry_project/2004/07/why_does_prof_d.html

Posted by: Adrian Spidle | Jul 8, 2004 5:36:46 PM

Yeah Matt don't you think some real research is in order here before you accuse the Kerry campaign of raising unnecessary dollars and wasting what it has? When Mickey Kaus made a similiar point this morning, he couched it as speculation--surely you can do better than him.

Posted by: Ottoe | Jul 8, 2004 5:44:33 PM

"John Kerry doesn't need your money, it's just going to go into some campaign staff tequila fund or something."

Well, that fund will need money if they plan on drinking for every "And I say to you..."

Posted by: Chris Marcil | Jul 8, 2004 5:53:30 PM

I tried getting an answer to this question the other day, but here goes (again): could Kerry legally opt out of the post-convention public financing? Are there any impediments to his doing so? I thought I recall hearing the figure he gets is relatively modest ($80 million or so), and, there's that timing issue they were so concerned about a few weeks ago. I mean, he seems to be able to raise huge amounts of cash, so, wouldn't he be better on his own? Any thoughts?

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Jul 8, 2004 6:35:03 PM

but matthew's underlying premise is absolutely correct. We all have to make choices, and unlike three months ago, where the only rational choice was to give money to kerry so he wouldn't be overwhelmed by bush advertising, now the scale is tipping to where it makes sense to give money to house and senate candidates in the hopes that the dems can, at a minimum, close the gap and at a maximum, retake one or both houses.

The Daily Kos 8, for instance, is a good place to go, as are a number of senate candidates....

Posted by: howard | Jul 8, 2004 6:36:35 PM

Isn't the simple solution to give the $ to the DNC? They can use the $ in ways to benefit Kerry and other DEm candidates up and down the ticket. If you're inclined to use your money to help Kerry, send it to the DNC.

Posted by: danielj | Jul 8, 2004 6:57:06 PM

Matt...

You are a smart guy, why the silly flip comment??? There are great and reputable and hardly mysterious 527s out there that could use the money. How about ACT, which is funding get out the vote efforts in the swing states?
Here is the address:
http://act04.org/

Or how about donating to the new Center for American Progress?
http://www.americanprogress.org/

Or The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee...

http://www.dscc.org/

The point is that other organizations are still being way outspent by the Republicans, and progressives could use the support... even if it is a simple subscription to Salon or American Prospect or Tom Paine.

Why discourage people when they are trying to help?

Posted by: Greg | Jul 8, 2004 7:07:52 PM

"tried getting an answer to this question the other day, but here goes (again): could Kerry legally opt out of the post-convention public financing?"

PB,

Wednesday I read, somewhere in the "Times," I think, that both campaigns are "expected" to accept the $75 million. But why dig beneath the outermost layer of a question? Yours is a vitally important, and one would think, obvious (but certainly not to the paper of record!) question, since Kerry has managed to raise at least $30 million a month since March, and at that clip, he could bag over $90 million between the convention and the election. I don't have an answer but I will do some research later tonight.

Posted by: Sean Flaherty | Jul 8, 2004 7:09:54 PM

"But why dig beneath the outermost layer of a question? Yours is a vitally important, and one would think, obvious (but certainly not to the paper of record!) question, since Kerry has managed to raise at least $30 million a month since March..."

Sean: My thinking exactly. Why hamstring oneself? My hunch is that internet giving has been a BIG plus for the Democrats, with their advantages in the tech-savvy coastal states and all, and that this has been a prime reason why Kerry has been able to do so well (that and Bush hatred, of course). I did some informal web surfing to newspaper websites in major "red state" areas, and didn't see a single Bush fundraising banner ad. I wouldn't be shocked if Kerry could outraise Bush in hard money between now and November, and I believe he's been outraising Bush over the last month or two. Maybe the Kerry camp figures it cannot raise more money than Bush, and that therefore they're better off with a $75 million "truce" so long as Bush is willing to play along. But, if that were the case, why wouldn't the White House abandon the limits? Seems to me it makes sense for the side that thinks it can outraise the other not to accept the public financing...

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Jul 8, 2004 7:32:43 PM

Yes, Kerry can opt out.

But I think the Dems are at a disadvantage no matter he does. Even if we assume Kerry can raise, say, $90M between the convention and election day, that's a lot of money that will be siphoned off from downticket races. So, while Kerry would be a little better off, the Dems as a whole may be worse off.

Also, while Kerry has raised significant sums from the internet and other places, to raise truly large sums of money he needs to do events in places like LA and NY. This is valauble time diverted from battleground campaign stops.

Overall, while the $75M or so he'll be limited to spending over the last 14 weeks in the campaign looks a tad skimpy for this cycle, I think it's better than striking out on his own.

BTW, IF Kerry can spend his money for 2 weeks after accepting the nomination AND can give anything unexpended to the DNC (as was suggested in an earlier comment), then giving to him is still a reasonable option for the next couple of weeks. However, I don't know if that's true or not.

Posted by: danielj | Jul 8, 2004 7:35:03 PM

Does anyone know how much the average Senate seat race and House of Representative seat race cost?

There's a website that monitors how many delegates votes each candidate is getting right now. It has a "sure thing" category, a "could be" category and a "slightly in favour" ctegory though not named as such. Someone have the URL?

Posted by: WeSaferThemHealthier | Jul 8, 2004 7:44:03 PM

PB, assuming that people can opt out, my guess would be that they don't because they think it's a taboo to do such a thing, and that the negative associations would outweigh the monetary gain....

Posted by: howard | Jul 8, 2004 7:44:36 PM

"Overall, while the $75M or so he'll be limited to spending over the last 14 weeks in the campaign looks a tad skimpy for this cycle, I think it's better than striking out on his own."

danielj, reasonable arguments, especially about downticket races. But I think the reality is 180 degrees from them.

WRT downticket races, is there any evidence that Congressional candidates have been doing poorly in fundraising since Kerry started raking it in? My suspicion is that the consensus-competitive candidates are doing better than expected.

"The truly large" amounts of money have been coming from the Internet at least as much as from NY-LA $2,000 maxer-outers. He may already have drained that well. So McCain Feingold limits the utility of the Kerry campaign spending fundraising time in New York and LA in September-October.

This one requires a sense of intelligent risk-taking, so expending even minimal energy on it testifies to almost delusional optimism about the strategic judgement of a Democratic Party campaign. But anyway: projecting the $30 million a month to November is lowballing, because all of the small contributors from the spring are likely to pony up again, and will feel an obligation to contibute more than they already have. I am assuming that the median individual contribution so far is well under $2,000; if it's not, you may be right. But even then, how many of us party-core, primary and caucus-goers know 10 people who haven't contributed so far who could be persuaded to? Come on, how many of us don't?

And it's here that your downticket argument is weakest. We need those lazier liberals to give money to Congressional candidates, and I don't see it happening unless they can also give to Kerry. "Oh, Kerry can't take your money now" resonates with the cards-stacked assumptions they have about the election, and would make it harder to get them to give to Brad Carson or Nancy Farmer.

It worked for Matt on Gephardt, and I'm a bit superstitious, so maybe it'll work for this: sticking with public financing is a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea for the Kerry campaign. 52 million people voted for Gore or Nader in 2000. Tens of millions of that bloc are pissed like they've never been pissed about politics in their lives, are willing to give money, and are still well under McCain-Feingold limits.

Posted by: Sean Flaherty | Jul 8, 2004 8:14:32 PM

I second the comment re: time. Time is a more precious commodity after the convention than money is. Kerry and Edwards need to have their boots on the ground in battleground states, not in NY and LA. Its worth more getting out and shaking hands of the voters than it is to shake the hands of wealthy donors.

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Jul 8, 2004 8:17:12 PM

PB Almeida:

Kerry opting out of matching funds sounds like a good idea and they must be toying with it; these guys seem very astute. But there is only so much money available, and maybe they figure the money will be spent to support Dems elsewhere, and opting out is giving Bush an extra $75 million. For what, $15 million difference? Take the $75 million, and spend the $90 million otherwise to help the ticket and party (assuming you are a Democrat.)

Posted by: epistemology | Jul 8, 2004 8:48:11 PM

And campaign staffs sucking down Tequila? Where? When? Hell I might even register this year.

Posted by: epistemology | Jul 8, 2004 8:49:28 PM

"But there is only so much money available, and maybe they figure the money will be spent to support Dems elsewhere, and opting out is giving Bush an extra $75 million."

epistemology: Opting out is giving Bush an extra $75 million? You mean there's one "pot" that gets split, and if one candidate doesn't participate his opponent gets everything? Can anybody confirm this? If so this would indeed pretty much decide the issue.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Jul 8, 2004 9:16:56 PM

"For what, $15 million difference? Take the $75 million, and spend the $90 million otherwise to help the ticket and party (assuming you are a Democrat.)"

Epistemology, I don't like to promote stuff I've written in a comment thread, but have you read mine above on that? There's more than a $15 million difference at stake, and getting money downticket may depend on first-time small contributors being able to give directly to Kerry, as a gateway drug. We need a lot of people who don't normally give money to give this year, and not letting them give to Kerry could depress their whole-ticket contribution.

Posted by: Sean Flaherty | Jul 8, 2004 9:20:46 PM

"This one requires a sense of intelligent risk-taking, so expending even minimal energy on it testifies to almost delusional optimism about the strategic judgement of a Democratic Party campaign."

I wrote this a few hours ago, and I'm happy to have to mostly retract it. Pandagon has posted a link to a report at Taegan Goddard's site that a lot of Democratic pols are urging the Kerry campaign to opt out. Of course, the campaign's willingness to take an intelligent risk remains to be seen, though you could argue that Kerry's choice of Edwards was just that, given the charisma gap. Anyway, it's good to see another sign of life in the party.

Posted by: Sean Flaherty | Jul 9, 2004 12:04:42 AM

I was going to give $5 or so to John Kerry way back in the fall of 2003, but decided to see what happened. I figured it would be better in the hands of the eventual candidate. Well, here we are.

Now, as Matt suggested, I am thinking of giving it to senate candidates. First on my list was Erskin Bowles, running for John Edwards' seat in North Carolina. Then I thought of Inez Tenenbaum, running in South Carolina. I wouldn't donate any money - nor would I recommend anyone else to, unless he had a lot to spare - Barack Obama of Illinois, since he's probably going to win handily and probably doesn't need the cash as much as other people, or the person running for Zell Miller's seat in Georgia, since that seems to be a lost cause.

I don't know if anyone has said this, by the way, but figure that we are sure to lose in Georgia and sure to win in Illinois. That leaves us in the same spot as we are in before the election, not counting other races. Figure that if we can hold steady in the South, at worst losing one seat in addition to Georgia, and pick up one to three seats elsewhere, it would be a pretty decent Senate election season for the Democrats. And right now, it looks like we are doing well in Alaska, Oklahoma, and Florida, I think, and perhaps Colorado, too.

Well anyway, I am bound to look up the specifics at some point, but not tonight, since I need to go bed soon. But for the time being, could someone tell me how the new laws affect money given after the deadline? If I give him $5 in September, can Kerry use it? Or is he simply stuck with public financing?

Posted by: Brian | Jul 9, 2004 12:15:00 AM

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