Friday, May 8, 2009

90% of Rick's thousands of political appointees gave no money to his campaign...

When we Republicans talk about mainstream media bias, we usually mean liberal bias. Liberal bias is prevalent no doubt but there is also a bias toward selling papers. Hype sells papers. Scandals sell papers.

Mainstream media headline writers really need to be more careful with their inflammatory headlines. These days people don't really read beyond the headlines, so they get all worked up about the idea that "5 million dollars to Rick's campaign from his political appointees."

Some facts from the article before you join the hysteria (link). Excerpts from the article follow...
Political patronage is nothing new for Texas governors in both political parties. The contributions are a legal and common practice, though it has been fodder for critics over the years.


Indeed, only about one in 10 of the 2,400 people currently serving Perry have written campaign checks, according to the review, which matched names and other records in computerized data to flag donors.

The appointees have given about $4.9 million since Perry became governor in late 2000, with the average donation topping $7,000. The total is only a fraction of the more than $60 million the governor has raised since he took office.
Over the course of any given four year term, the Texas Governor appoints about 3000 people. Over 9 years, there will be easily 5 to 8 thousand appointments. I have not seen the number Rick has appointed, but it is probably somewhere in that range. For only a few hundred out of the several thousands of appointees to contribute to one of Rick's heated campaign battles in 2002 or 2006 is actually pretty shockingly low. For the other 90%, what is their problem?

The liberal Texans for Public Justice, which is heavily funded by Democrat supporting trial lawyers and has hypocritically hidden hundreds of thousands of dollars of its own donations from proper disclosure over the years (link), has some choice quotes in this hit piece. "The reason people should care is that it would be nice to think that government functioned as a meritocracy," Andrew Wheat said.

90% of all of Rick's political appointees, a really incredibly high number, gave no campaign contribution at all. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Is that not meritocracy?

That should be a startling number and proof of how many people are truly yet to be tapped for money in the upcoming Rick vs. Kay race. If people want to put some limit or prohibition on contributions from political appointees, merit goes right out the door. Think about it. If you are some smart and successful guy like Jeff Sandefer, and you have given money to political candidates you agree with, like. and want to win over the years, why should you then be banned from serving on a commission that benefits Texas and that you are uniquely qualified for? If 90% of political appointees had given a campaign contribution, there might be something to that meritocracy argument. As it is, only 10% giving is just nothing. To eliminate successful and politically engaged people from the pool of potential appointments is to shoot meritocracy right in the face with a .22.

Charles Kuffner, the very liberal Rick hating blogger, also takes issue with TPJ's take but agrees that this whole thing is a non story (link). Excerpt follows...
You know, I dislike Rick Perry as much as anyone, but I don't see what the story is here. There's no indication that the level of giving is significantly different than it was in the past; the story acknowledges this is nothing new, but has no numbers to compare him to, most likely because the historic data isn't accessible, at least not easily. All other indicators - the ratio of contributors to non-contributors, the total share of their donations, the lack of any allegation that there's a pay-to-play aspect to this - take whatever edge there might have been off of this.
The whole issue is just stupid hype crap reporting that turns a total non issue into tabloid fodder for the blog echo chamber.

If anything, the low number should be the story. Why aren't more of these people giving money to Rick's campaign? Did they incorrectly believe they were prohibited from doing so? Did his campaign finance staff not ask them for money at some point over the past 9 years? Even just a small ask would be effective, it seems.

Rick's camp may be missing out on thousands of potential donors... even if just 40% of those appointees each give merely 150 dollars on average, Rick is looking at a few hundred thousand dollars for TV ads or some other outreach in a flash. If 60% give an average of 400 dollars, Rick is easily looking at more than a million extra dollars, just like that. Kay's team might be looking at some of the names thinking they can grab some of these big dollar guys for their finance trophy case.

On another note, this is the second "campaign finance" banner hit job headline with regard to Rick in two weeks... in a major newspaper in Texas. Last week the Dallas Morning News ran a hit piece about Rick "railing against Washington but taking campaign money from Washington," the bulk of which came from the Republican Governors Association, an organization he chaired and raised money for mostly inside of Texas. Now, just a week later, there is yet another hit job about a small number of appointees who are also donors. Seems like they are digging and not finding much but still going with the headlines they set out for when they started digging. The steep decline of the newspaper industry has at least some link to this kind of piss poor reporting, don't you agree?

1 comment:

  1. The issue with paying for appointments isn't that the appointee is the one paying. The person interested in the outcome of the appointment already has a job.


Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.