Monday, February 11, 2008

The One Where I Define "Corporate Money" Against the Rotation of Campaign Spin

Rarely do I find myself in a position where I have to correct flagrant misinformation from fellow supporters of the candidate for whom I voted, but one of those moments is here. Here is the honest record of Barack Obama's "Top Contributors" (that is the most generous PACs and groups of lobbyists and their contributions):

  1. Goldman Sachs - $430,578
  2. UBS AG - $286,480
  3. JP Morgan Chase & Co - $274,359
  4. Exelon Corp - $269,100
  5. Kirkland & Ellis - $256,089
  6. University of Chicago - $252,556
  7. Lehman Brothers - $248,190
  8. Sidley Austin LLP - $243,025
  9. National Amusements Inc - $224,950
  10. Citigroup Inc -$209,437
  11. Skadden, Arps et al - $206,166
  12. Jenner & Block - $186,629
  13. Harvard University - $184,600
  14. Citadel Investment Group - $168,900
  15. Mayer Brown - $168,056
  16. Time Warner - $162,218
  17. Jones Day - $158,400
  18. University of California - $137,272
  19. Morgan Stanley - $127,675
  20. Credit Suisse Group - $125,950
So, how many individuals do you see in that list? Sorry I had to go Mary Douglas on some, but this myth that Obama is somehow different because he exclusively relies on individual contributors is hogwash. He's a helluva money raiser, which means that he does all of the conventional things, like lining up corporate donors effectively, first.

I have a bit of experience with IAF organizing styles, and I know that one of the things that they teach is that the perception of resources flowing in snowballs outward and accumulates even more resources, so it is not difficult to see how Obama relies on the big corporate gifts first to pay for higher visibility and then to attract the smaller individual contributions.

He deserves respect (even while we keep an eye on his patronage of the top contributors later), but let's not put him up on a pedestal from which he will eventually fall. Sometimes the campaign shilling just gets out-of-hand.

By the way, in the interest of fairness (usually the first casuality of political campaigns) you can find all of the candidates' PAC contributions at the same site linked above.

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