Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Penny Bernard Schaber's Funding

Later yesterday I visited visited the Wisconsin Election Divison GAB site (a clumsy and hard to use site), after some searching I found this page which allows one to pull candidate campaign finance reports. I pulled Penny Bernard Schaber's (look under Bernard not Schaber) report that was due July 21, 2008.

I then took the report, sorted the contributions by state and then by city and then looked at the total donations from Appleton vs. those not from Appleton. After all, Penny is running to be the representative for Appleton not for San Francisco. I generally do not support campaign finance laws and restrictions, but I do believe contributions should come from those directly affected by the candidate i.e. the constituents or groups that represent one or more constituents.

When I look at the numbers coming from Penny's report here is what I see. Total contributions (on this report) come to $38,921.07. Okay, then I sort the records by state and city, so Appleton contributions float to the top. Now, for the purposes of this work I believe we are safe assuming Appleton is in the district and others are not. Not quite a 100% valid assumption, as parts of Appleton do lay outside the district and it would not surprise me to find out parts of Menasha and Kimberly are within the 57th, but let us assume the contributions erroneously ruled out will be balanced by those erroneously included.

How much of Penny's $38,921.07 comes from Appleton? According to my spreadsheet work $16,897.57, that is, 43% of the total contributions. People with Madison addresses kick in $3,777.25, and out of state contributions total $7,158.00 a little more than 18% of the total.

Now, I do not count organizational contributions. There are a number of unions and other political committees contributing to Penny's cause, I am less concerned about organizational contributions because, for example, the unions most likely have members in the 57th district. But why are Adam Freed & Paul Albert from San Francisco California interested in kicking $500.00 each to Penny's campaign? What concern of theirs is this race? I consider such contributions as meddling.

I hear it now – Everyone does it! Sure, let us now look at the contributions of Penny's opponent Jo Egelhoff. Jo received a total of $22,312.32 for the same reporting period $16,120.00 of which comes from Appleton, that is 72% of Jo's contributions come from within the district, whereas only $900.00 comes from outside of Wisconsin! Wow! Jo did not raise the same amount of cash, but remove the out of district contributions and it is a dead heat!

Put simply, Jo is Appleton's candidate, Penny is not.