Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Prince Pete's Million Dollar "Grassroots" Campaign

Peter Roskam's website says that the D.C. Republican fundraising syndicate's crown prince has raised more than a million dollars for the 6th District campaign.
Roskam FEC Report Highlights

· Total Individual Donors - 2,402
· Individual Donors who contributed less than $200 – 1,493
· Online Contributions - $130,000
· No personal loans/contributions from the candidate

"These fundraising numbers reflect the strong grassroots support that Peter Roskam has generated in his campaign for Congress. Republicans are united and energized behind this campaign and our fundraising reinforces our momentum," said Ryan McLaughlin, Roskam's campaign manager.
Really? Strong grassroots support?

We'd need to have different numbers to fully evaluate that claim -- contributions by zipcode or area code maybe -- but to me a "grassroots campaign" is one that's funded by ordinary citizens. Ordinary citizens who make small donations. Is that really how Prince Pete's campaign is funded? Lets take a look.

While I know plenty of folks -- my wife among them -- who would argue that $200 is no small campaign contribution, that is the number that the Roskam folks have provided us with so we'll use that generous amount to define "small donor." And Roskam's campaign boasts 1,493 donors who contributed less than $200. So what percentage of Roskam's campaign booty comes from these "small donors"?

Well, to give the Prince the benefit of the doubt, i.e. to maximize the contribution of those "small donors" to his campaign, lets say that each and every one of the under $200 donors gave $199 to the campaign. So we take the number of "small donors" (1,493) and multiply it by the generous contribution amount ($199) to come up with the maximum possible amount of money donated to the Roskam campaign by "small donors". That number is $297,107.

And that's no small sum.

But what percentage of the Roskam campaign's cool million does that best-case-senario small donor sum represent? The kids who did well in math class have already shifted the decimal point and arrived at our answer -- $297,107 /$1,000,000 -- twenty nine point seven percent.

29.7% of Roskam's plunder is from "small donors". And that's only if we define "small donor" as someone who gave less than $200 and we assume that those small donors gave $199 each.

So, at most, only 30% of Peter Roskam's campaign money has come from "small donors".

That is pretty consistent with the numbers from Roskam's previous FEC reports. You remember them -- the reports that Hiram Wurf analyzed, revealing that "almost half (49%) of Peter Roskam's itemized donations are $1,000 or above."

And that's a funny definition of "grassroots support."

And I couldn't let this post go by without reminding you that the 6th District's real grassroots campaign is here.

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