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A look at Leadership PACs -- The Democrats

It has become de rigueur in recent election cycles for aspiring national politicians to maintain a leadership political action committee. Leadership PACs provide a campaign bank account that a candidate can use to fund his or her relentless travel around the country in the quest to raise even more money. The PACs also allow politicians to donate dollars to (and collect favors from) friendly candidates and help them build the staff infrastructure that can be quickly ported over to a full-fledged presidential bid.

As such, a close review of leadership PACs provides a window into how the politicians eyeing the 2008 presidential race are laying the ground work. Last week, every leadership PAC was required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission.

After many excruciating hours of scanning reports and adding up figures (Remember the Fix was an English major, not a math major), the results are in. We start today with the Democrats and will focus on the Republicans later in the week.

Not surprisingly, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) HILLPAC is the biggest operation on the Democratic side, employing 26 people (although several of these workers are shared with her official Senate office). Clinton keeps consulting costs to a minimum. In the first three months of 2006, HILLPAC employed just two consultants -- the Hudson Media Group, which received approximately $36,000, and Heather Hurlburt, who took in $15,000. Hudson Media Group is the political arm of the Glover Park Group, a firm where Clinton confidant Howard Wolfson is a partner. Hurlburt, who is based in Michigan, is a former speechwriter in the Clinton administration.

Clinton's main political consultants -- pollster Mark Penn and media consultant Mandy Grunwald -- do not appear on HILLPAC's payroll; since she is running for reelection this fall they are paid out of her principal Senate campaign committee -- Friends of Hillary.

Clinton has used HILLPAC to spread money around the country -- $90,000 to Senate candidates, $30,000 to House candidates, $24,000 to gubernatorial candidates, $45,000 to national party committees and $30,000 to state party committee. As you would expect, HILLPAC made donations to candidates and parties in the key early presidential states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

While it's no surprise that Clinton's operation is the largest among 2008 Democrats, the second place finisher is somewhat shocking.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC has already become a major enterprise, employing 23 staffers and a wide variety of consultants by the end of March. The PAC has added a number of senior level operatives, including Scott Darling, who will serve as Forward Together's finance director. Darling worked for Warner's successful 2001 gubernatorial campaign and then went on to serve as finance director for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards's 2004 presidential bid.

Among Warner's consultants are the direct mail firm MSHC, which received $15,000 in the first three months of 2006, Web site consultant Category 4 Design ($15,000), fundraisers Campaign Finance Consultants ($42,000) and the Katz Watson Group ($20,000), and communications consultant Pringle Communications Group ($12,000). (Andi Pringle, who was involved in Rev. Jesse Jackson's presidential runs as well as that of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, signed with Warner in early 2006.)

Like Clinton, Warner is not currently paying his two lead political consultants -- pollster Geoff Garin or media consultant Jim Margolis -- although both are expected to be involved in the 2008 race.

As a governor, Warner has ground to make up on his competitors in terms of doling out dollars to candidates -- an issue he began to address in the first months of 2006. He gave out a whopping $150,000 to House candidates, $44,000 to Senate candidates, $35,000 to gubernatorial candidates and $25,000 to state parties -- better than $250,000 in contributions in a single period.

While Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) employed a slightly smaller staff of 15, he used his Keeping America's Promise PAC as a fundraising conduit over the past three months, bundling nearly $500,000 to Democratic candidates.

Kerry kept his consulting fees relatively low -- doling out $30,000 to Backus Consulting and nearly $24,000 to Mayfield Strategy Group (for Web site work). Kerry allies are quick to note he also did considerable bundling and fundraising for candidates through his Friends of John Kerry Committee.

Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.) was the only one of the top-tier Democrats who had the vast majority of his core 2008 staff on his leadership PAC payroll as of the end of March. Bayh had 11 salaried staff at All America PAC, and he paid $4,000 to his pollster Paul Maslin, $8,000 to media consultant Anita Dunn and $30,000 to fundraising consultant Nancy Jacobson. Bayh was less generous than other major Democratic candidates in the period -- giving a little over $5,000 to state parties and candidates and $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

On the other end of the spectrum -- in terms of size and scope -- are the leadership PACs run by Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) and retired Gen. Wesley Clark.

Biden's Unite Our States PAC did not have a single, full-time employee during the reporting period. Instead, Biden farmed out the work to consultants. By the end of March, Danielle Borrin had received $6,600 for fundraising consulting, Eric Carbone had received $22,500 for Internet consulting and Helen Milby & Co. took in $30,000, also for fundraising consulting.

Biden, who never had a leadership PAC prior to this cycle, donated $45,000 to fellow Democrats in the period -- $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $27,500 to Senate candidates and $2,500 to House candidates.

Clark, who continues to harbor presidential ambitions, pays three staffers for his WesPAC. Like Biden, most of the PAC's expenditures go to consultants: $10,000 for fundraising aid to the Ashmead Group, $8,000 to consultant Catherine Grunden, $6,300 to Mullen & Company, and $2,500 each to Blackrock Associates and Oeffingers.com. Clark made no donations from WesPAC to candidates in the first quarter.

The most intriguing report was filed by John Edwards's One America Committee. He employed 15 staffers (two of whom have left since the end of March) and a handful of consultants, including Hinton Hill for direct mail ($15,000), Anne H. Lewis for Internet consulting ($8,000) and Jennifer Swanson for fundraising consulting ($9,000). Harrison Hickman, the expected pollster for an Edwards 2008 campaign, is not on payroll. Edwards has yet to hire a media consultant.

Interestingly, Edwards did not make a single donation to a candidate for local, state or federal office in the period. Edwards allies point out that he has raised nearly $6 million for candidates so far in the 2006 cycle, and they said by foregoing fundraising for his own interests, Edwards is making it easier for other Democrats to collect cash.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 25, 2006; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Eye on 2008 , House , Senate  
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Posted by: Debbie | August 22, 2006 9:10 PM | Report abuse

INTERVISTA AD ANTONELLO DE PIERRO
Da Napolitano alle liti per le poltrone nel governo Prodi, all'Iraq, al sistema elettorale, all'economia.Il ''depierro pensiero''.

Angelo M. D'Addesio

*Iniziamo con le notizie politiche di questi giorni. La scelta di Napolitano come Capo dello Stato è condivisibile, giusta oppure si configuravano alternative possibili e se sì quali?

Sì, penso che Napolitano sia stata la scelta giusta, a dispetto dell'anzianità, anche perché vista la situazione che si era venuta a creare non poteva essere D'Alema, l'uomo giusto, avendo fatto la campagna elettorale per un determinato schieramento. Gianni Letta è stato sempre al suo posto, ma non dimentichiamo che è stato al centro dei fondi neri dell'IRI negli anni '70 e quindi non era una figura credibile al momento. Mi ha fatto male vedere i 42 voti a Bossi, che è leader di uno schieramento che fa i raduni sul Po e cantava con i suoi seguaci la canzone "Abbiamo un sogno nel cuore, bruciare il Tricolore...". Parlo di Bossi perché è stato il secondo più eletto. Penso che Napolitano è una buona figura, che sicuramente riuscirà ad essere al di sopra delle parti.

*Il Governo Prodi. Dopo la vittoria risicata che durata potrà avere questo governo e soprattutto come si risolveranno i diverbi interni ai DS o il nodo Mastella-Bonino per il Ministero della difesa?

Come durata mi auguro che sia di cinque anni pieni. Diciamo che le liti sono più nell'ambito dell'Ulivo, nel partito "unico". Sembra che qualcuno abbia attribuito a D'Alema, la frase e la volontà di una doppia vicepresidenza del Consiglio, con Rutelli. Non sarà così. La vicepresidenza andrà, a mio parere, a Rutelli. Non sono d'accordo sulla scelta di Rutelli, in tempi passati ho trovato molto da ridire sul comportamento politico di Rutelli.

*E sulla questione Bonino-Mastella?

Sicuramente vedo molto meglio Mastella alla Difesa. La Bonino alla Difesa sarebbe una scelta contraddittoria, viste le battaglie pacifiste che la Bonino ha condotto in questi anni con i Radicali, Rutelli in primis. Non dimentichiamo il trasformismo esasperato di Rutelli, dai Radicali ai Verdi, per poi genuflettersi in Vaticano, passando alla Margherita.

*Rimanendo sull'argomento pace-guerra. A fine giugno dovrebbe esserci il rifinanziamento delle missioni in Iraq ed Afghanistan. Il governo Prodi avrà la volontà di svincolarsi dalle missioni oppure seguirà i propositi del governo Berlusconi?

Io mi auguro di no. Innanzitutto la missione in Afghanistan è stata ben diversa. Quella in Iraq è stata una missione di guerra, perché gli italiani hanno partecipato a diverse operazioni di guerra.
E' eclatante il caso di Nassiriya. Lì sono di stanza gli italiani e ci sono gli stabilimenti dell'ENI che gli italiani hanno protetto durante la missione.

*Quali sono le possibili soluzioni politiche per risolvere questi nodi cruciali legati alle missioni in Iraq?

Io spero si trovi una soluzione che non sarà comunque facile, vista la situazione creatasi in Iraq. Penso che sia però il momento di ritirare i soldati dall'Iraq. C'è da sottolineare comunque il cinismo aberrante che accompagna il cordoglio per la morte dei militari italiani, dalla tragedia di Nassiriya. Berlusconi disse all'epoca "E' come se fosse morto mio figlio". Suo figlio non era lì, purtroppo o per fortuna e sono parole e frasi fatte. Il fatto di considerare i morti in terminI di mera contabilità di un bollettino di guerra dovrebbe far riflettere. Dietro ogni morto c'è una tragedia familiare che segna per tutta la vita.

*Si parla di Partito Democratico e di Casa dei Moderati. Eppure le formazioni sono molto disomogenee, la sinistra radicale va per conto suo. Saranno possibili queste elaborazioni in termini bipolari e quali saranno i tempi per queste soluzioni?

E' una bella domanda. Io sono contrario all'unione DS-Margherita. Sarebbe il tramonto dell'ideologia. Questo già esiste, però se qualcuno ha ancora delle idee, ci troveremmo di fronte ad un'unica lista formata da coloro che combattevano, verbali o meno, ovvero democristiani e comunisti, la vecchia maggioranza ed opposizione. E' come se in futuro si unissero Berlusconi e Prodi. Dall'altro lato la Casa dei Moderati è surreale. Nel centro-destra non ci sono moderati, per il sol fatto di aver accettato l'alleanza con la Lega Nord che è sempre stata contraria e lontana dallo spirito democratico e di moderazione. Fino a quando ci saranno certe alleanze, sarà difficile una Casa dei Moderati.

*In riferimento al sistema proporzionale come le pensa?

Ecco in riferimento a ciò è bene ricordare che l'art. 1 dice che "L'Italia è una repubblica democratica fondata sul lavoro". In realtà l'Italia è stata fondata più sul denaro, sulla ricchezza, che non sul lavoro. E' stata più che altro una plutocrazia e non una democrazia, non di certo un governo del popolo. In questo senso la legge elettorale è stata un attentato alla democrazia. Non dare neppure la possibilità all'elettore di scegliere il proprio candidato, ma imporre candidature come quelle di Previti, peraltro arrestato in questi giorni o Dell'Utri che si è avvantaggiato di una legge ad personam, altrimenti avrebbe dovuto scontare due anni e sei mesi rende l'idea di come questa legge sia da rivedere, completamente.

*Il tema scottante del lavoro. Veltroni ha riabilitato la Legge Biagi, ha detto che è da riformare, ma non da bocciare completamente. Altri la considerano l'apice e la causa prima del precariato in Italia. Che posizione ha sulla Legge Biagi?

Non dimentichiamo che questa situazione è stata determinata in parte dal centro-sinistra. Bisogna invertire la rotta. Non dimentichiamo che il centro-sinistra introdusse i c.d. "Co.Co.Co.", ora spariti per fortuna, per poter pagare i periodi di prova. Gli stessi sono stati strumentalizzati, infatti circa tre anni fa si arrivò a circa 2 milioni e 700 mila Co.Co.Co. Vorrei sottolineare un evento abbastanza importante su questo argomento.

*Prego.

Al Ministero dei Trasporti c'è una centrale operativa, che risponde agli utenti che hanno a che fare con la Motorizzazione Civile, occupandosi dei dati sensibili di tutti i cittadini. Prima l'appalto del call-center era stato dato ad una ditta privata. E' qualcosa di assolutamente sbagliato affidare i dati sensibili di milioni di italiani ad una ditta che può passare la mano ad altre ditte, in barba alla legge sulla privacy. Tutto ciò non è affidabile. Circa tre anni fa, in proposito feci una trasmissione in Radio su Radio Roma, in cui si parlava del Co.Co.Co, come incostituzionale, perché prevedeva una situazione contraria all'art. 4 della Costituzione, perché prevedeva un lavoro da dipendente con le non garanzie del libero professionista. Nel caso del Ministero la nuova ditta che venne impose questo trattamento e c'era chi lavorava lì da 15 anni ed a 40 anni si vide costretta ad accettare.

*E' il caso di rivedere tutto, di attuare una vera riforma.

Adesso ci sono i "contratti a progetto". C'è un futuro nel segno del precariato e dell'incertezza. Sono aumentati i divorzi e sono diminuiti i matrimoni. Questo è uno degli effetti collaterali di questa situazione. Oggi un giovane non può neppure comprare una cosa, perché è necessario impegnare una busta paga per un mutuo o un affitto. Una volta si diceva "Ho trovato lavoro" o "Sono Disoccupato" oggi si dice "Lavoro, ma non so cosa farò". C'è una grande incertezza. Non si parla più tanto di usura in questi tempi, non so se è notato, ma anche questo è un altro effetto collaterale indiretto che bisognerebbe approfondire e che è conseguenza di tale sistema. Berlusconi aveva promesso 1 milione di posti di lavoro, ma se sono questi, ha vinto la scommessa, ma il lavoro è un'altra cosa.

*Faccio l'avvocato del diavolo. L'impresa italiana è in crisi. La concorrenza asiatica è molto forte. La grande impresa sceglie la strada della vendita o svendita o della fusione all'estero. La piccola impresa è strozzata e quindi o sceglie la strada della flessibilità o cede al lavoro nero? Cosa è meglio e cosa il peggio?

Lavoro significa stabilità futura e lavoro è un diritto costituzionale. Lo Stato ha il dovere di tutelare il lavoro, ma mi sembra che lo stia piuttosto calpestando. Un lavoratore che mette su famiglia, lavorando in tre mesi e per altri tre mesi non lavora più, può essere schiacciato dall'usura. Si parla di mobbing, senza che ci siano però una legge adeguata. Ho partecipato ad un convegno sul Mobbing, constatando che una legge seria si attende da anni. Solo la Regione Lazio ha varato una legge regionale, fu un consigliere di Forza Italia a presentarla, Claudio Fucci, ma fu bocciata dalla Consulta su istanza del Governo Berlusconi, cosa abbastanza curiosa. Tornando al mobbing, questo tipo di impostazione del sistema lavoro, presta il fianco al mobbing. Lavoratori con contratti di più durata sfrutteranno quelli con contratti precari
E' una situazione da ribaltare, magari con incentivi alle imprese che possano assicurare contratti a tempo determinato e con grosse penalizzazioni per le imprese che mantengono la vergogna dei contratti precari.

*Passiamo alla politica estera. Si dice che il binomio Usa-Italia è destinato a concludersi con l'avvento del governo Prodi che guarderà verso altri modelli ed altre collaborazioni. E' possibile che l'Italia si rifaccia al modello spagnolo o a quello francese, ad esempio nel campo dei diritti civili. E' vero che finirà anche il binomio Italia-Usa.

Io guarderei prima al mio orticello. Prima risolverei i problemi interni. La Spagna di Zapatero sicuramente, per quello che si sente, sta rinascendo dopo gli otto anni di governo Aznar. Se parliamo dei diritti civili, se vogliamo chiamarli così, io posso essere d'accordo personalmente con i PACS, ma non con le unioni omosessuali. Per giunta nella cattolicissima Spagna. E' un po' una contraddizione. In paesi come il Brasile forse non si arriverà mai ai matrimoni gay.
Quanto al rapporto con gli Usa, spero che possano continuare, ma attenzione, devono essere rapporti di scambi reciproci e non di sudditanza. Il Governo Berlusconi si è piegato al governo degli Usa. Lo stesso partito di Forza Italia ha una visione servilistica, Berlusconi ha impostato il suo modello con gli Usa allo stesso modo, ovvero servi del volere di Bush.
Quanto ai diritti civili, gli Usa stessi hanno molto da imparare, se pensiamo agli innocenti che aspettano il giudizio solo perché non possono pagare le spese legali. Si parlava poi di mercato con l'estero. Se penso alla Cina che è lo stato che vanta al mondo il maggior numero di esecuzioni capitali. Ebbene, fino a quando non ci sarà uno standard di rispetto dei diritti umani, io frenerei l'espansione commerciale ed economica della Cina verso l'Occidente.

*Le chiederei un parere sulla vicenda Calcio. Tema banale, ma saltato agli occhi della cronaca, della politica.

Io sono sconcertato da quello che è successo. Siamo abituati a situazioni poco pulite dell'universo Calcio. Situazioni poco chiare ci sono state anche in altri sport ed in altri organismi. Il Calcio è un gioco. Quando il Calcio diventa business, con squadre quotate in borsa ed altro. Non dimentichiamo i crack di Cagnotti e Tanzi. Dove c'è business si vengono a creare situazioni che permettono alle persone di arricchirsi illecitamente. Negli altri sport non esiste ancora tutto questo. Pensiamo al Calcio dei grandi valori, al grande Torino, perito a Superga, con grandi calciatori che giocavano per un premio-partita che poteva essere un cappotto.
Questo non dovrebbe accadere. E' il caso di fare vera pulizia e che i magistrati vadano veramente fino in fondo per punire pesantemente i reati che sono stati commessi e dare una lezione a questi signori. Fra questi c'è anche Carraro e mi dispiace che sia stato sindaco anche a Roma, una città bella, rinata. Mi fa scemare un po' di orgoglio di essere romano.

*Ultimo punto. Cosa dovrebbe fare un governo, in questo caso, il Governo Prodi, non dico in cento giorni, ma con estrema urgenza almeno nei prossimi sei mesi. Tre priorità su cui intervenire.

Prima di tutto la scuola. Soprattutto dopo la riforma Moratti che svalutato la scuola pubblica. Bisogna dare a tutti l'accesso alla scuola pubblica, al sapere che è il segno distintivo di un popolo. Altra cosa su cui operare la sanità. Un esempio è il modello tedesco è molto avanti. Si paga una tassa più elevata, ma in Germania viene tutto rimborsato, visite private comprese. Conosco un caso spaventoso di un barbone dimenticato su una lettiga fuori dall'Ospedale di Ostia. La tutela della salute è un diritto da non calpestare che favorisce anche una società più laboriosa. Infine va rivisto completamente il sistema lavoro, a partire dalle assunzioni.


Antonello De Pierro, giornalista, direttore del portale di informazione nazionale Italymedia e da tempo impegnato nel giornalismo di denuncia sociale. Ha collaborato per "La Stampa" e "L'Opinione", ha diretto nel 2003 il mensile "Nuove proposte" ed ha condotto programmi nel circuito tv Stream, oltre che essere un assiduo ideatore di trasmissioni per Radio Roma ed altre emittenti locali nel Lazio. Oggi è molto attivo nel giornalismo on line e nell'informazione telematica grazie al sito di informazione da lui diretto Italymedia.it

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Posted by: Allison Trump | May 23, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

It appears that Senator Kerry has given more money to the candidates than any one else, if that is correct than you at least need to mention that - also if correct; that would put him on the top of the list of donors. Another important note - it appears we have a list of other candidates that fail before and now trying again such as McCain, Edwards, Clark etc, in turn they now join a list of others who fail previously but persisted such as President Reagan, President George H. Bush, not to mention Nixon - why who could forget those Nixon - Kennedy debates! Nixon lost but eventually went on to win - had he not chosen to engage in lies and deception - history would be quite different as we know it today. This country is in dire need of experience leadership and healing, in my humble opinion we don't need another new comer or name sake. The Hawks have had their day and what a day it's been, we have to deal with the mess they have made, a mess where no one has been held responsible, in a country where even Martha Stewart was sent to prison for lying; these guys were told they are doing a "HECK OF A JOB "- unless our world has been turned up side down - that does not make much sense to me. We have to deal with protecting this country - that's for sure, but in my opinion we are not served by using trumped up intelligence to start a war against a country we may not like but had nothing to do attacking us and where thousands of innocent lives are lost . 2 wrongs do not make 1 right - do the math. Engaging in torture, lies , leaks & deception while at the same time saying we don't condone them makes us look like - feel like and act like hypocrites and that undermines the respect of our country - also disregard for our allies as well as the UN weakens us substantially on the fight against terror. Would you help someone you did not trust, like or even respect? Some one you know that does not abide the rules they promote - I don't think so.

Posted by: TY HINES | May 19, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

No mention of Tom Vilsack's Heartland PAC? It is a little confusing actually, since it's not technically a PAC, but a 527. It took forever to figure out where the finance filing would be for it, but I eventually found it here:
http://forms.irs.gov/politicalOrgsSearch/search/Print.action?formId=20522&formType=E72

But Vilsack should definetely be noted with all the rest, considering he raised $1.6 million last year and has raised almost half a million this year by now. His website is pretty decent too: http://www.heartlandpac.org/

And when Vilsack went to Missouri, he didn't shoot in and out just to raise money for himself like Hillary did in KC. He headlined the Missouri Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in St. Louis that raised tons of money for McCaskill and the MDP.

Posted by: Sam | May 16, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Still looking for Barack Obama, Hopefund PAC, coverage. The guy steps into a fundraiser and has money thrown at him from all sides. If anyone can raise the money, Chris...

Good to see that Hillary could have some serious company in the primaries.

And to comment on the earlier remark about the Democrats having too many leaders and too many differing opinions - I think that diversity can be made a strength with the right candidate as spokesman for all. The Democrats are the diverse party in America, and that causes trouble with issues like this - but I think there are some really key points - "the audacity of hope" is one that Sen. Obama mentioned - that can really unite the whole field. I think the primary season will be interesting, to say the least.

Posted by: Matt | May 7, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I liked the comments made by Gary Roberts...we should all be VERY worried about our future and the future of our kids...as he stated..."Go ahead and vote republican again.... and vote in four more years of ...the bull shit he has strewm around the globe. America is broke and sinking deeper all the time....It is intereting that the worse Pres in Histoy is the most conservative. Conservatives.. unbalance the economy toward the rich and stick it to the middle class."

You have the power to change all this--vote for a change!

Posted by: Anita | April 27, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, if I donate $100 or $1000 to a candidate, I am supporting them and their viewpoints within the party. Nice to have a sensible person come to the blog once in awhile to explain this is not influence peddling, (I add unless that is George Soros and his $16 million funneled into Democrat groups)

I would like Cilizza to report the funding for the groups supporting the Republicans being considered for president in 2008. So far, he is only giving info on the Democrats.

It would also be good to see these people once in awhile, so if I wanted to check out Sen. Allen, how would I find his group's website?

Posted by: Susan | April 26, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd like for the people who are horrified by "influence peddling," etc. to show me where the line exists between contributing to "support" a candidate with whom you share the same beliefs, and contributing so that candidate will vote the way you want on legislation you want?

Other than, when it's your candidate, it's support, and when it's the "other candidate," it's influence peddling.

I've heard McCain say that people contribute to him because they know how he's going to vote on specific issues, and they support his positions on those issues.

Amen, John! Because that's no different than what it is for the other 534 Senators and Representatives. And of course, each is likely to grant more access to those who believe as they do, and help with electing them.

Except for when it is patently obvious that the introduction and pushing of special interest legislation is designed solely to benefit very limited segments of the population and not society as a whole, who is to say what is "influence peddling" vs. normal "support?"

Only the voters in how they vote in the next election in which the candidate runs.

Posted by: Duh! | April 26, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Ok, so the Democrats have to face a challenge.... does Howard Dean speak for the party, or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Ted Kennedy or Hillary or Gov. Bill Richardson? They all speak differently on any issue, and that makes the entire party look like a real mess. It will be up to the voters in 2008 to decide what path their party will walk and who will be their leader? Has the party of FDR/Truman (strong on national defense) jumped off the cliff into liberal land?

Lieberman and Wesley Clark seem to be the only reasonable voice for foreign policy-military issues, so that leaves Kerry in the dust. The race in 2008 will be very interesting to watch, so get lots of popcorn, it will take months to get it settled before their convention.

Posted by: Joyce | April 26, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

interesting to read how Hillary sucked up Democrats money which could have gone to Claire McCaskill's Senate campaign. I would have thought it would have been a joint appearance so Hillary would share some of the money with Claire? Hmmm, I guess I thought the Dems reached out to help other candidates. Oh well.

This all reminds me of the 2000 race for Hillary in New York. Billy Boy and Hill got all the headlines and big bucks while poor ol' Al was in their shadow. You can bet if Al tries to challenge Hill for 2008 it will be hand to hand combat for the future of the Democrats.

I also remember that during the Kerry campaign, the big headlines was Bill Clinton and his book. Then it was Hillary and her book. All those millions got sucked away from helping the Kerry campaign.

Hillary is like a vacuum cleaner grabbing every spare dollar for her war chest. She can put all the leftover millions into her president campaign after November 2006. How much that will be depends on how much she has to pay in New York to defend herself to get a 2nd term. Can she answer with a straight face a direct question like, "if you win again in 2006, will you be running for president in 2008?" Simple question, but THE MEDIA will never get an honest answer from Hill.

Posted by: Paula | April 26, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Go ahead and vote republican again and vote in four more years of Geroge Bush and the bull shit he has strewm around the globe. AMerica is broke and sinking deeper all the time. We have no control over our fture , no control over immigration and we have brookered away the future of our kids.
Bush is the worse PRes America has ever produced . It is intereting that the worse Pres in Histoy is the most conservative. Conservatives cant rule they are aa a gang a bunch of petty crooks and windlers. They unbalance the economy towaard the rich and stick it to the middle class.
Go ahead and vote Repub you band of idots.

Posted by: Gary Roberts | April 26, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Mark Warner's performance really is very impressive. It is not just that he is second. That is not perhaps as surprising as it sounds, as he has had a lot of very favourable media coverage over the past year or so. But look at Chris's figures. He employs 23 people. Hillpac employs 26 people, but some are shared with her Senate staff.

Quentin Langley.

Editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net/

Posted by: Quentin Langley | April 26, 2006 5:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't really care how much money Hillary raises. I will not support her candidacy under any circumstances, and I have consistently voted Dem for 34 years now. If the party is crazy enough to nominate her, the party deserves to lose again. many of the best potential general election candidates that the Dems have are routinely subject to brain-dead adolescent slander from the far left. Example? CT Sen. Leiberman

Posted by: Harl | April 26, 2006 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Kerry's "leadership PAC" is a total waste of time because people are tired of him. He is a joke and a buffoon.

Posted by: Sandy | April 26, 2006 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Kerry's "leadership PAC" is a total waste of time because people are tired of him. He is a joke and a buffoon.

Posted by: Sandy | April 26, 2006 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I find some of what you've written here to be quite amusing. Hillary blew into Kansas City to raise money for her "senatorial campaign" very quietly and raised $40,000. It angered the entire MO Democratic party. Claire McCaskill could use every dime she can get in MO to become a senator from MO and Hillary came in for the kill. Makes her $90,000 in donations look like chump change. I suspect this scene has been repeated all over the country.

Meanwhile, what you say about WesPAC, Wes travels all over the country to camapign for candidates and raise money for them as well as state Democratic parties. He doesn't need to donate directly to candidates, this is how he gets to most bang for the PAC buck. He also has one of the best political websites, blogs and podcasts anywhere. That doesn't come free.

Posted by: ljm | April 25, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

you are likely right to ignore Feingold. I'm not sure that Democrats outside the blogosphere will leap at the chance to nominate an uber-liberal Senator. Beyond these labels, factional candidates of any ideological stripe have a tough time winning the nomination.

Posted by: Scott | April 25, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Republican Leadership PAC's
1st Quarter Fund Raising

George Allen
Good Government for American Committee
1st Q raised:$28,000
On hand 3/31/06:$152,204

Bill Frist
Volunteer PAC
1st Q raised:$1,231,739
$490,678 (Mar); $530,008 (Feb); $211,053 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$494,469

Chuck Hagel
Sandhills PAC
1st Q raised: $139,831
$56,150 (Mar); $39,075 (Feb); $44,606 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$188,961

Mitt Romney
Commonwealth PAC
1st Q raised:$259,600
On hand 3/31/06:$215,521

Rudy Giuliani
Solutions America PAC
1st Q raised: $331
$112 (Mar); $103 (Feb); $116 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$285,205

John McCain
Straight Talk America
1st Q raised:$868,226
$374,218 (Mar); $191,655 (Feb); $302,353 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$1,051,692

Posted by: RMill | April 25, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

DEM Leadership PAC's
1st Quarter Fund Raising

John Edwards
One America PAC
1st Q raised: $286,841
On hand 3/31/06: $7,158

Hillary Clinton
HillPAC
1st Q raised:$654,295
$272,477 (March only)
$182,797 (Feb); $99,339 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$110,421

Mark Warner
Forward Together PAC
1st Q raised:$1,850,170
On hand 3/31/06: $3,242,110

Wesley Clark
WES PAC
1st Q raised:$144,336
$70,026 (Mar); $37,332 (Feb); $36,978 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$48,443

John Kerry
Keeping America's Promise Inc
1st Q raised:$1,093,360
$956,221(Mar);$82,039 (Feb); $55,100 (Jan)
On hand 3/31/06:$596,398

Joe Biden
Unite Our States
1st Q raised:$156,695
On hand 3/31/06:$244,242


Posted by: RMill | April 25, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

sayyyy cheeese-
Not sure where you got your information. According to FEC filings:

Bayh's All-America PAC raised $430,977 in the first quarter of 2006 with $967,453 on-hand while Feingold raised $283,383 with $466,294 on-hand.

you may be thinking of the Senate Campaign Committees:

Bayh's Senatorial Committee raised $463,041 in the first quarter and had $8,125,699 on hand while Feingold's Senate Committee raised $564,208 in the first quarter and had $1,111,659 on-hand.

Posted by: RMill | April 25, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm just an Anglo-Irish alien. I care deeply about the "Leader of the Free World". I'm a wannabee contributer.

Any website onto which I log refuses my money! I can't even get the tee-shirt.

Posted by: Malcolm Redfellow | April 25, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree, I would have liked to see more about Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund. The Fix always seems to try to brush by him, but I'll have you know the blogosphere as VERY excited about him. We'd like to hear more about how he's doing in the mix.

Posted by: AUDemocrat | April 25, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree, I would have liked to see more about Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund. The Fix always seems to try to brush by him, but I'll have you know the blogosphere as VERY excited about him. We'd like to hear more about how he's doing in the mix.

Posted by: AUDemocrat | April 25, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

What about Feingold? He raised more than Bayh did during the first quarter of 2006. Why no coverage?

Posted by: sayyyy_cheeese | April 25, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

It takes money to get people to run and finance their race. Influence peddling? Holy Cow, that guy must want every candidate to run with taxpayer money to finance their pure little campaigns. Hey, if there was a lower limit on how much could be donated to these PACs, (I think it is $5000 right now), it would just take longer to raise the money. If you donate $5 or $10, that is trying to influence as well, but I guess if you think a person can be bribed with a $5000 donation, you must think very little of your politicans.

The FEC limits the offical campaigns to $2000 maximum, and they will get matching funds of $250 (I think) from the FEC. Steve Forbes rejected the FEC funds, which freed him to donate $30 million of his own funds to pay for his campaign in 2000. If it is his own money, I guess it is no influence peddling. So then it becomes a race for the next few million to finance a competitive race. Kerry rejected the FEC money and so did Bush. Fine with me.

Let the people donate their money to show they support candidates. Just make sure they are US citizens, and not some Chinese guy having coffee with Bill and Hillary. You all remember that, right? Was that influence peddling? If so, how come ol' Billy Boy got elected? The Democrats accepted it so they sure can't complain now about Republicans donating money to their preferred candidate. Full disclosure in the sunlight to show where the money comes from.
If you don't donate to any politican, please stop whining about the cost of races. You won't be part of the solution and the whining over money is part of the problem.

Posted by: Joe | April 25, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Ok, now to be fair, please give equal time to the Republian PACS and 527's.
1. Frist
2. McCain
3. Romney
4. Rudy
5. Gingrich
6. Huckabee
7. Pataki
8. Brownback
They are being financed by their PACS as they travel to Iowa, New Hampshire, S Carolina, Florida and other states to speak and raise money. Hotel rooms, staff are paid, travel costs, and probably some campaign gear like flyers and banners.

Also, please give us a report about the 527 groups, the ones referred to in the Sunday paper "Coy leaders may feel draft" by Mr. Goldfarb. Feingold, Clinton, McCain, Warner, they all have groups of people promoting them for president. There is also the first group, Americans for Dr. Rice, mentioned so we deserve to hear about them as well.

The term "more mature" might imply they are serious minded people promoting Condi for president. With their TV ads and radio ads playing across the nation, they seem to have earned their spurs, so to speak, as the lead 527 promoting a 2008 hopeful.

Ok, Hillary is spending $100,000 or more each month to finance her staff, plus others are paid from the Friends of Hillary group. She came down here to Florida, in Tampa, a few weeks ago, and WFLA focused on the banner from a table, "Hillary 2008". She did not deny it, so we know she is running. Let her run, and see if the Democrats want her as president.

Likewise, give Condi the same respect if she decides to run.

With the volunteers for Condi, (their website has people from across the nation, 4,000 members), they seem to have the purest form of politics in mind, they are motivated because they see Condi as the most qualifed person for the Republicans in 2008.

Ok, whether it is PACS or 527's, it is amazing to see so much energy, effort, and fundraising going into the races of about 40 people for president. Polls, newspaper stories, TV, radio, and millions of bumper stickers: all proclaiming who people want as their president in 2008. Wow, only 20 more months before the Iowa caucus. I wonder how many of these candidates will remain by then?

Posted by: Cheryl | April 25, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

How can there be this much money and no influence peddling ?- Is Iowa and NH for sale to the highest bidder ?-

One can hope Vermont wins it battle at limiting campaign money - maybe then and only then can campaigns get back to the people

Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 25, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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