“Stocks rose to multiyear highs on the first session of the new quarter after a solid reading on domestic manufacturing.” - WSJ, 4/2/12
A friend passed along a link over the weekend to an interesting and brief glimpse into the fundraising efforts of Congressmen, courtesy of NPR.
It outlines just how much time and effort is put in to raising money for elections:
And this second job — the raising-money job — doesn’t happen in the nice congressional offices, with the rugs on the floor and landscape paintings on the wall. That would be against the rules.
So senators and congressmen go across the street to private rooms in nongovernmental buildings, where they make call after call, asking people for money.
In other words, most of our lawmakers are moonlighting as telemarketers.
“If you walked in there, you would say, ‘Boy, this is the about the worst looking, most abusive looking call center situation I’ve seen in my life,’” says Rep. Peter Defazio, a Democrat from Oregon. “These people don’t have any workspace, the other person is virtually touching them.”
There are stacks of names in front of each lawmaker. They go through the list, making calls and asking people for money.
The fundraising never stops, because everyone needs money to run for re-election. In the House, the candidate with more money wins in 9 out of 10 races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics. In the Senate, it’s 8 out of 10.
As PACs and Super PACs receive more and more attention for the outrageous amounts of money they raise, the focus on dollars in political races will only grow.
So, where does skimmerhat fit in? After all, our platform is predicated upon finding candidates with like-minded ideology and then donating to them.
In that sentence, though, the action item is flipped from the NPR excerpt above. It is not politicians directly seeking out donors. Instead, it is citizens intuitively seeking candidates and then donating to them. The citizens are engaging the politicians.
There is no sure way to know how this relationship will play out, but we plan to build the best tool possible for individual citizens — small donors or otherwise — to find and fund candidates based on the strength of ideology while evening the playing field, so to speak, of the deep pocketed candidates and donors of the political establishment. And we want it to be transparent and open. In the same way we demand our politicians to be.
We can’t wait to see what happens. If you are interested in receiving the latest news on skimmerhat and keeping up with our development, sign up on our email list.