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Monday, April 12, 2004

Following the money

The internet is working to promote campaign finance transparency! By simply typing in a name or address, the curious web surfer can unearth the names of contributors to the 2004 presidential election campaigns -- and discover how much each individual gave.

I actually learned of this website on a baseball research list -- so some of my time spent on the sport has practical benefit. Someone on that list posted the contributions of various team owners (overwhelmingly, they gave to Bush).

The list only includes donors who gave more than $200 in the first two months of 2004. Also, donors who give directly to political parties (DNC) or organizations like MoveOn are not listed. All of my donations are under the radar, so far as this listing is concerned.

In any case, spend a few minutes at the FundRace 2004 website and you can learn -- or merely confirm -- all sorts of things about campaign finance.

For example, I was not surprised to learn that Kentucky US Senator Mitch McConnell and his spouse, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, each gave two grand to the Bush campaign. It was interesting to learn that many of their neighbors contribute to Democrats (you can search by address too).

Enter zip code 90210, and discover the candidates favored by the rich and famous. Maury Povich, for example, gave $2000 to Bush. David Cross, of Fox's "Arrested Development" gave $1000 to Howard Dean. Carl and Rob Reiner both gave two grand to Dean -- though Rob also gave $2000 to Edwards. Actress Melanie Griffith favors John Kerry, as does Normal Lear ($2000 each).

Try not to become addicted. I now know that the spouse and son of one of my colleagues gave a fair sum to Howard Dean and that an old friend from college gave a big check to Bush.

As I've noted before, Republicans tend to have a much larger number of affluent donors, as well as other huge advantages, so I encourage everyone reading to kick in a few bucks to help topple Bush in 2004.

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