Contributions to campaigns – where do you work?

When providing donations to politicians or political committees, you are required to provide your name, address, occupation and employer if you are contributing $200 or more. This information has been a frequent topic for news organization and blogs the last couple of years.

Information provided is passed to state and federal agencies who make the information available in a variety of formats. The information is used to generate cool looking graphs and online databases that allow anyone to research who donated to candidates and political committees.

prop8-donor

Above, I found the one person in a Connecticut town contributed $100 in opposition to California’s Proposition 8 in about one minute. The person chose none for employer but by law, committees must ask the question.

So, how is this information being used and is it a good idea? (Remember this post?)

cassano-letterToday, we learn AIG-FP CEO Joseph Cassano sent an e-mail to employees to encourage them to contribute the maximum amount to Chris Dodd for his re-election campaign. Click on the image to read the e-mail, Cassano asks the employees wives to contribute as well!

These employees knew that this information would be available online within days of contributing so Cassano could check up on the request. Or was it a demand?

More at The Campaign Spot (Jim Geraghty), The Hartford Courant, Hot Air, and the original exclusive from the Washington Times.

When you visit OpenSecrets.org and read that AIG contributed $98,100 to Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in 2008, it is important to understand that this money did not come from AIG the corporation, rather PACs that represent AIG, employees of AIG, and immediate family members of employees.

Did you read that? Once again, from the OpenSecrets.org Web site…

This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2008 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization’s PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

So when you read articles like this ABC News piece, what do you think?

AIG employees kept doling out donations to politicians, including presidential candidate Barack Obama, after getting bailed out with federal funds last year, raising the question of whether those politicians will now return the money.

Exit question: Is the media trying to spin these donations to imply they are coming from AIG – and other corporations – instead of individual employees that work at these corporations?

Do you realize that if you are an entry level administrative assistant or janitor who works for AIG, your personal contributions – and those of your immediate family – are being associated with “AIG” contributions?

Exit question #2: If a solution is needed, what is it?

What say you?

2 replies
  1. SoundOffSister
    SoundOffSister says:

    Great post, Steve.  I wish I knew the answer to either of your exit questions, but I don't.  What I do know is that whatever campaign reforms we make, slimy politicians will figure out a way to get around them.   Most of the slime run for office not for the grandious salary, but for two simple reasons…power, and the ability to use our (i.e., the taxpayers) money to their advantage.  As long as those two constants exist, the slime will continue to deepen.

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