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The Collective
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via The Hill: Obama could raise $100 million in June, fundraisers say

Leading Democratic fundraisers predict that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will raise hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few months if he opts out of public financing and begins raising money for the general election.

The thing is, I am not sure that that is correct, i.e., that the conditional clause at the end of the sentence is correct. Obama has already opted out of partial public financing for nomination season, which runs until his official nomination at the convention. Any money he raises now can be spent until that time. The issue at hand is threefold.

First, can his campaign efficaciously spend whatever money raised between now and the start of the official campaign? It is worth noting that the pre-convention period is slightly longer than the pending general election period, around two and a half or months plus versus just over two months for the general election campaign.1

Second, does the Obama campaign think that the amount of money that they can raise is so large that it outweighs getting a free truckload of cash? (i.e., ~$85 million).

Third (and the point that often gets left out in these discussions), does the Obama campaign think that if it takes the public monies for the general that the private monies that he could have raise will not be otherwise spent on his behalf? In other words, wouldn’t all of that cash go to 527s and other organizations that could still support Obama? My guess is that the money that Obama could raise for himself could still be raised to support him, just not directly. So, my guess is that his campaign will take the free money and simply allow the private funds to be raised and spent outside of the campaign. That tactic would also allow Obama to keep his pledge to stick with public financing so long at the GOP nominee did as well.

Sphere: Related Content

  1. Again, the “general election campaign” in terms of campaign finance rules as created by the Federal Elections Campaign Act starts once a candidate is nominated officially. Obama will receive the official nomination on August 28th in Colorado. Election day will be on November 4th. The designation of nomination season v. general election only matters if the candidate accepts the federal grant to finance the general election campaign and agrees not to raise and spend its own money []
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Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |

5 Comments »

  1. It’s such a shame that so much money is spent on elections.

    I can think of a lot of good that could be done with 100 million dollars.

    There might as well be a black hole in Washington that opens every 4 years, into which vast sums of money are sucked, to return nothing whatsoever to the American people.

    Comment by Captain D — Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  2. I can appreciate the sentiment, and am not unsympathetic to it on a number of levels.

    On the other hand, we are engaged in a process to select the leader of the US for the next 4 years, and, by extension, a key world leader.

    Given the amount of money spent on getting people to choose Coke or Pepsi/Bud Lite v. Coors Light and so forth, I can’t really get to upset on the money spent on campaigns.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  3. You’re right, of course. I’m just grumpy.

    At least Pepsi really does taste good, although try as I did when I was younger, drinking Budweiser did not get me a beach full of beautiful women.

    It did, however, make me realize that real beer is seldom advertised on TV. :)

    Comment by Captain D — Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

  4. It did, however, make me realize that real beer is seldom advertised on TV.

    So true!

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, June 10, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  5. The Obama campaign has been big on message control. They’re already telling donors to stay away from 527s like VoteVets and to instead donate directly to the campaign. I guess one could argue that he’d rather have that money himself as if it were a zero sum game, but he’s already rolling in cash. I don’t think he’ll be looking to the 527s as a way to have his cake and eat it too, especially since they’re more likely to run nastier “old politics” ads. I think he’d rather have control.

    Comment by Greg — Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

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