Big Money Still Counts


My long time colleague and friend Nancy Watzman at Public Campaign writes over at the Huffington Post that despite all the talk about netroots and a democratization of fund raising via the Internet that when it comes to campaign finance for the presidential candidates big donors still significantly dominate. In the last presidential election, it was the early money — raised from people giving a $1,000 or more that established the front runners.

Nancy quotes a Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) study that found in the first six months of 2007, the candidates received nearly three-quarters of their funds in amounts of $1,000 or more. For Giuliani, Romney and Clinton, the figure exceeds 80 percent. When it comes to small contributions ($200 or less), Obama is raised $16.4 million, more than the rest of the Democratic field combined, as well as the entire Republican field combined. As impressive as that is, he still raised three-fifths of his funds in amounts of $1,000 or more. Overall, in the second quarter of fund raising, there was an increase of 84 percent in small contributions over first quarter totals, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).But still the small money is dwarfed by the big donors.

The campaigns are to file third quarter reports on Monday. And one thing is for sure, the reports will show they have received the lion’s share of their funds from large donors. For House and Senate campaigns this is even more of the case.