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Tilting at Windmills

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July 21, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

$25 MILLION?....From the Politico:

After locking up his party's presidential nomination, Barack Obama's fundraising operation came roaring back to life in June, generating more than a million dollars on five days, including a whopping $25 million that came in on the last day of the month.

Something is wrong with this picture. There's no way that Obama was cruising along at a run rate of about a million bucks a day and then suddenly raised a record-smashing $25 million in a single 24-hour period. There has to be some number fiddling going on here, but the motivation escapes me. Why did the Obama campaign want people to think that June fundraising was anemic up until the very last day?

Kevin Drum 12:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

when do recurring donations post ?

Posted by: cleek on July 21, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Just because somebody promised to write a check on a given day doesn't mean the check was written, arrived at Obama's campaign's office or was recorded on that day

Posted by: Eskimo on July 21, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

They wanted news outlets to be running "Weak numbers expected for Obama campaign" headlines to be running so that $52 million seemed even more impressive?

Maybe they think that will stop the media from speculating about their supposedly anemic fundraising numbers in the remaining months before the election?

That'd be my guess, anyway.

Posted by: LittleMac on July 21, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I gave on the last day, though it wasn't much -- there was a big marketing push to get big numbers in for the reporting deadine, and they emphasized that they still needed money despite the earlier success. There's also people who scheduled monthly or quarterly payments, and lots of them probably came in on the 30th. What percentage of previous month's receipts have been on the last day?

Posted by: davemb on July 21, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

The $25 million day has been greeted by the left political blogs as a sign of strength. But I think that, if Obama did receive $25 million the last day of June, and if it's not just a result of some odd bookkeeping, the opposite may be true. I mean, how many $25 million days can he be expected to have?

Posted by: David in NY on July 21, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

My thoughts exactly. Something smells, and it isn't my feet.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 21, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I will post the same thing here I did over at TPM on this.

The way I understand it, I think the reason that you see $25m worth of donations the last day of the month is that they only need to give a break down of donations over a certain amount, I think $200. Anything other then that they agreggate over the month and report it as one big donation on the last day of the month from an address tied to the campaign.

The thing is if the person who wrote this had been paying attention to other candidates in other periods they would realize that as a possibility, since every single month you would be seeing the last day post numbers wildly out of line with the rest of the month. I think Clinton had a month that was just like that (maybe Feb) and it set off a round of questioning whether her people lied about taking in $X in a certain period of time, but it was impossible to definitively say because she had aggregated small donations at the end of the month.

Posted by: Napoleon on July 21, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure this has something to do with sexism, lack of toughness or disdain for America. Maybe even all three.

Posted by: shortstop on July 21, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

The link indicates the total represented all under $200 donations counted as of the last day. The version of the story I read doesn't say anything about claiming $25 million in one day.

Posted by: wynn on July 21, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wynn, the story says this in the body of the story:

"That left the impression that Obama had an astonishingly good — $25 million – final fundraising day for the month and Politico made that the lead of this story.

Turns out, Obama raised nearly $4 million on June 30th, a healthy amount certainly. But the $21 million from the un-itemized small donors, which are those who are not named because they haven’t given more than $200, came in throughout the month and not on a single day."

Posted by: Napoleon on July 21, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure this has something to do with sexism, lack of toughness or disdain for America. Maybe even all three.
Posted by: shortstop

it's muslim accounting. they use arabic numerals, you know.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on July 21, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

It made the Wall Street Journal look bad, which in some circles is a very good thing!

Posted by: pgl on July 21, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Fascinating that $1 million a day is now termed "anemic."

Posted by: physicist on July 21, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's called sandbagging.

Posted by: steve duncan on July 21, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie: Something smells, and it isn't my feet.

I'll vouch for that!

Posted by: thersites on July 21, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

davemb is correct - there was a fund-raising email that came out the last weekend of June that was extremely effective - we also donated the last day (even though I just got laid off), because we couldn't bear the idea that anything might slow down the momentum.

Although my husband is a huge Obama fan, I'm still in the throes of BDS (and proud of it) - imagining another 4 years of the current regime makes me want to lay down in front of a train. Won't need money if that happens!

Posted by: CaliforniaDrySherry on July 21, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I read somewhere that people in the middle east are making internet donation of less than $200 dollars each - and that the same person can be making multiple donations - and they are not being itemized because they are each less than $200.

According to what I read, there is no rule/law governing internet or international donations and how they are reported by the campaign.

Posted by: on July 21, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Obama office just opened down the street from me. One of my friends visited it on Saturday and was told they had no bumper stickers, buttons or other merchandise that people come in asking for -- and they didn't know when they'd get it. How's that for organization? Has anyone else come across this?

Posted by: lopq on July 21, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I agreed, on the phone, to pledge to send money on that date. I was sent a form to enclose with the donation. Then came FISA, faith-based nonsense and let's put non-murderers to death and I decided not to, after all. But it was a big fundraising effort so I guess a lot people followed through.

Another reason could be that campaigns gather a lot of little donations along the way and report them as one total for the end-of month reckoning.

Posted by: Khuloud on July 21, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I read somewhere that people in the middle east are making internet donation of less than $200 dollars each - and that the same person can be making multiple donations - and they are not being itemized because they are each less than $200.

According to what I read, there is no rule/law governing internet or international donations and how they are reported by the campaign.

You read incorrectly, anonymous coward.

Posted by: dob on July 21, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

I needed a stay out of jail card.

Posted by: Franklin Raines on July 21, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

lopq,

I was doing some canvassing on Saturday. Rumor has it that they have been holding off on pins, signs because they are producing Obama with his running mate's name.

Posted by: Micheline on July 21, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Micheline, that makes sense, I guess. Thanks.

Posted by: lopq on July 21, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

More should be said about the source of the donations rather than the amount. Despite efforts to create the illusion that Obama's donations are from grassroot sources, there is no doubt that a substantial proportion of his war chest is based on corporate donations. Both candidates can try to hide their corporate donations under the guise of individual donations or PACS but if you research the real source, much of it is corporate. The problem is that no matter who wins the election, the new president will be beholden to the hand that feeds him and that means corporate interests trump the public interest.

Posted by: David Model on July 21, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

More should be said about the source of the donations rather than the amount. Despite efforts to create the illusion that Obama's donations are from grassroot sources, there is no doubt that a substantial proportion of his war chest is based on corporate donations. Both candidates can try to hide their corporate donations under the guise of individual donations or PACS but if you research the real source, much of it is corporate. The problem is that no matter who wins the election, the new president will be beholden to the hand that feeds him and that means corporate interests trump the public interest.

Posted by: David Model on July 21, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Michelene, thinking about your response further... let's hope Obama doesn't wait until the convention to name his running mate. That's a whole month for these offices to do without.

Posted by: lopq on July 21, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with _, this is another example of those feckless Mohammadens trying to buy their way into power. But now, instead of buying skyscrapers and ports, they're buying presidential candidates $200 bucks at a time...NOT.

Stupid Git.

Posted by: Everett on July 21, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Everett,
So how come some brits held a fund raiser for Obama over in London? Do they launder their money by passing it through ex-pats?

Posted by: optical weenie on July 21, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

LOL...we knew that was optical weenie at 3:00. Too funny.

Posted by: shortstop on July 21, 2008 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

lopq at 3:11

Did you want a Obama bumper sticker for your bicycle or your laptop?

Real bumper stickers are for Extinctions and Escapades; cars for people with net worth. But they really are so... 2004.

Posted by: slanted tom on July 21, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

I gave on the last day of the month, because of my credit card billing cycle. I think I am not alone on this point: donate in June, pay in August, sounds good to me.

Posted by: Yashko on July 21, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

From the updated version of the Politico story:

The sums were reported in disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. An initial summary of Obama’s donations posted on the FEC website Sunday night grouped all of his un-itemized donations of less than $200 on the same day – June 30th. That left the impression that Obama had an astonishingly good — $25 million – final fundraising day for the month and Politico made that the lead of this story.

Turns out, Obama raised nearly $4 million on June 30th, a healthy amount certainly. But the $21 million from the un-itemized small donors, which are those who are not named because they haven’t given more than $200, came in throughout the month and not on a single day. The FEC is adding an explanatory note to avoid such confusion in the future, said FEC spokesman Bob Biersback.

Posted by: shortstop on July 21, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

lopq,

Demand for Obama gear has exceeded supply since before Super Tuesday. Also, in my experience volunteering, the campaign has tended to spend its money on media presence rather than lots of gear. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more gear in the future, with or without the VP's name.

Posted by: Rachel Q on July 22, 2008 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

lopq,

Demand for Obama gear has exceeded supply since before Super Tuesday. Also, in my experience volunteering, the campaign has tended to spend its money on media presence rather than lots of gear. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more gear in the future, with or without the VP's name.

Posted by: Rachel Q on July 22, 2008 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

optical weenie, since I was invited to the fundraiser in London, I'll answer your poorly thought out question. It turns out the hosts of the event (actually, events) here in London were American citizens (there are some 200,000 in the UK alone). The people who attended were American citizens, or if they were the British spouse of an attendee, they did not pay.

Interestingly, apropos of the button question upthread, an African American celebrity attended one of the events, and brought two bags of Obama buttons. They were not distributed, since this was deemed offensive to the Clinton supporters who were there. (Many well-heeled London expats were Clinton supporters, even though Obama won 68% of the vote here.) Based on the reaction of one Clinton supporter who saw the bag of buttons, I'd say they were probably right to do that.

Posted by: KathyF on July 22, 2008 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

lopq, the problem is, people expected to find the stuff at the new HQ, and it's not there. The campaign gave them none to begin with. Fans can get Obama stuff at MoveOn, but some misinformed people REALLY don't like MoveOn.

Posted by: lopq on July 22, 2008 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK
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