The King's Marquee

Election Day is finally here! Let's get out there an seal the deal for Trump and the American people! And don't forget to support the CTGOP under-ticket!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Or How About $20?

One of the most annoying aspects of the campaign season (as if it's really seasonal) is the endless amount of junk mail, (and now thanks to the advent of social media) tweets, posts, and email asking for donations from political candidates, PACs, and Political Parties.  Given the scarcity of disposable income, an 8-9% unemployment rate, rising taxes, and the stress of having to make ends meet, being asked to cough up greenbacks to help support another person's crusade seems a bit presumptuous, if not downright frustrating.  And the language in some of the fundraising correspondence I've received is not just misleading, it's dishonest.  The world will not be swallowed up into a black hole by Satan if so and so doesn't get a donation from me. Sorry we aren't that gullible.

Now before some of my friends in the GOP start getting uppity, this isn't a piece urging voters to not donate to Republican candidates, but rather a reasonable look at what they'd be getting for their buck, if anything.  This piece is written from a voter's perspective, not a candidate trying to beat the clock to show progress against their competition on a ledger.  That's not our problem.

Donating to the State Party:

First let's start with the State Party - the Connecticut State Republican Party.  Most of us have seen several fundraising schemes distributed over the last few months from our friends at CTGOP. The first was an invitation to join the CTGOP 2012 Club. (contributors where asked to send in a check for $20.12).  I'm not quite sure what happened to this or how many people joined, but I haven't seen anything more about it recently - so I'm going to assume that this idea has been shelved.  There's been banter about a foul-up involving the 2012 Club - but I'm going to leave that go for now since it seems it's neither here nor there.  

The latest scheme involves paying $20 to participate in an online Presidential straw poll.  Last week you may have seen my tweet: "Does anyone have $20 I can borrow? I want to vote in this #CTGOP online presidential straw poll.  This isn't a form of online gambling, is it?".  Of course, the day that the correspondence came out about the online poll, former Governor John G. Rowland was ranting on WTIC 1080 about the dangers associated with online gambling, so I found the timing mildly amusing and thought I'd poke fun at the idea.  The tweet was retweeted by a few other tweeters, and a few people got a little steamed at me for my unique sense of humor.  What am I going to do with you people?

Look, having thought about it, the online poll for $20 isn't the worst idea, but it isn't the best idea either.  The timing of this is a little odd given all of the controversy surrounding reports that Senate Candidate and Pro-Wrestling Mogul Linda McMahon has sent donations to several RTCs and may be purchasing convention delegate votes, while an ethics resolution is pending review at State Central Headquarters.  The fact that CTGOP would go down the road of selling (poll) votes to raise funds is disappointing. As one reader pointed out, this fundraiser was created by people who who want to intentionally thumb their noses at those trying very hard to eliminate the impression that Connecticut's Republican Party is for sale.  Alas - the point is well-taken, but there is little that can be done at this point. It's The King's View that a little more caution might have been in order before shoveling more controversy atop of existing controversy. 

The bigger question is whether it makes sense to give money to the Connecticut Republican Party, at all.  If you were to consider yourself an investment banker, and Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. walked into your office and asked you to invest in the CTGOP, what would be the first question you would ask him?  Why, you'd ask for a WRITTEN BUSINESS PLAN which would contain a list of specific goals, a high level outline of how goals would be achieved along with a detailed roadmap showing how he would get there. You'd also expect to see a detailed budget of how the money would be spent.  Business 101.  Not very complicated, right?

The simple fact is that right now no such plan exists.  And I've been getting a lot of heat for supporting the new Chairman for so long and giving him a free pass, and putting the blame for disorder on former Chairman Chris Healy.  Well, the six month honeymoon is over, and like President Obama - the statute of limitations on the blame game has expired.  I'm not going to go out of my way to hammer the new Chairman, but I can't defend him at this point if there isn't a strategic plan, and our coffers are nearly empty.  And I would not be inclined to mail him $20 without knowing that he and his staff, or the 72 members of State Central had a formal plan in place.  And there is no secret plan hidden under a floorboard in New Britain, and a verbal barrage of impromptu thoughts doesn't cut it.  The only plan that is acceptable is one that is formally written down and has been vetted, and approved by State Central members. Anything else is simply unacceptable.  Anything else is lip service.

Before I move on, let me point out that you don't need funds to create a plan.  Anyone who tells you that is a liar.  You only need utilize the depth of experience from within the Party membership to assemble a plan.  So cut the excuses - pick a weekend, pick a team, and have a working session and get it done.  No plan is going to fall out of the sky.  After you get a good plan together, then you can pester people for money.  For now dear Republicans, keep your $20 in your pocket.

If someone from the Connecticut State Party asks, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?  Or $20?" 

You reply:  "Brother, Can You Get Off the Dime?"

Donating to Political Candidates:

I've always believed that if you were going to donate money in politics - then you should do so by donating to the candidate of your choice, directly. Not to a PAC working on behalf of your candidate, but ONLY to your candidate of choice. If you decide to donate to a PAC for specific purposes - that's fine, just keep in mind that your money may be merged into a fund and used for all kinds of purposes unrelated, or even contrary to your desires!  Fact is that tracing PAC money expenditures is pretty tricky.  I happen to think that a lot of these consultant firms, PACS, and so-called think tanks are full of people who've created a phony business around themselves so they don't have to work for a living like the rest of us.  Scam City!

In The King's View, there are really two reasons to donate to a candidate - 1) they are actively running and you believe they can win, or they can make the opposition spend their money (else it will end up in the coffers of another GOP candidate's opponent, or opposition PAC), or 2) to help a previous candidate clear their campaign debt.  Too often people in the first category are promised big things from Party hacks who encouraged them to run in the first place, and end up in the later category having overextended themselves and find that they're left holding the bag.  Not everyone can write massive checks to themselves like Linda McMahon and Tom Foley, which is why I become incensed when people of means put out a fundraising letter ripping their primary opponent for carrying a campaign debt that they could have helped to reduce, in part or whole.  Fact, it's even more amusing to me to see how frugal some of our richest candidates have been when its come to donating to Connecticut Republican campaigns at all (see  They'll drop $600 bucks on a big dinner in New York, but could care less about anyone else, unless it comes with a favor attached.  Simply amazing.  Now mapping who donates to who and why is another story for another day.

I'll have to say that a candidate like CT-5 House of Representative Candidate Mark Greenberg sets the standard in terms of generosity to fellow Republican Candidates.  That in itself shows that Greenberg cares more about Republican Party goals instead of selfish ambition for promotion and power.  There are some CTGOP candidates who haven't shelled out a single penny to ANY candidate, yet I bet you'll see an email begging constituents and RTC members for their hard earned cash so they can fund their campaign.

I also suggest that if you get a campaign fundraising solicitation from a candidate that is full of negative bullet points about their opposition, that you don't donate to their campaign.  If you reward negative campaigning with cash, you're opt to end up encouraging more negative campaigning, and never see anything tangible about what the solicitor plans to do if elected. 

And by the way - millionaires and billionaires don't need a penny from you - how do you think they became millionaires and billionaires?

I want to make one more point on the topic of donation solicitation when it comes to being asked to donate to either local, state, or federal campaigns which voters should remember -  if you can't afford to donate, then don't.  Don't be guilted into sending in money that you need to manage your own life.  As one person told me: "You can't save the world if you can't pay the bills."  And a decent candidate will accept that, they WON'T keep badgering you for a smaller increment, or suggest a payment plan.  That is bollocks!   All you need do is VOTE. There is no obligation to donate just because you care more about the political process than the guy down the street.  Personally, some candidates could better use volunteers rather than cash - the value of hardworking individuals - making calls, folding fliers, and going door to door is invaluable!

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
(Composed by Jay Gorney; version recorded by Al Jolson, 1932)

In summary, I'd say think twice about the whole business of sending donations.  Give to those deserving of your hard earned cash.  And don't give to anyone or any group that claims it needs money to get itself organized.  Ideology doesn't require cash, it requires smarts, conviction, and dedication.  Money can't buy those aspects.

In closing, here are a few of The King's Rules for donating to PACs , Candidates, and Political Parties and Groups:

  • Validate that the political correspondence comes from a legitimate organization, and/or candidate. You can do this buy calling the campaign directly or contact the Secretary of State's Office.

  • If the soliciting brochure contains more bullets and information about the sender's opponent, rather than the sender than throw the brochure in the trash. Or better yet call the sender and tell them you tore up their brochure because it tells them nothing about how they are going to solve the economy, jobs problem, energy, etc.

  • If the fundraising correspondence is written by anyone other than the candidate themselves, than throw the correspondence in the trash. There is nothing worse than being bullied by someone from another district, state, or political office telling you who to vote for.  You can make your own mind up without someone half a continent away telling you what to do.

  • If you have a question about where a candidate stands on an issue before you donate, call their campaign and ask.  If they don't know, ask them to find out. If they don't want to tell you or they give you a cryptic answer -  don't donate. 

  • If it's a political party, call the party and ask them exactly how your  money will be spent.  If you like what you hear then donate, if you hear some broad answer  like "use the money to defeat democrats" or some boring sales pitch with few specifics, then hang up.  Also, be aware that only a percentage of what you donate will go to the CTGOP, as in previous years, individuals working to help collect money are getting a HANDSOME percentage of the cut.  That part of it is the single most dishonest part of the transaction - what the rest of us in the real world refer to as - the hidden fees

  • If its a PAC, use the internet to find out where they distribute their fundraising dollars to.  This information is public.  If the dollars go to lobbying firms unrecognizable to you, then don't donate.  Donating to the wrong PAC could mean putting money in the hands of the wrong candidates or the wrong special interest group.  Also, find out who is running the PAC and what their true agenda is.

  • All things being equal, if you have to decide between giving to a federal candidate, state candidate, or local candidate, always give to the local candidate first.  God Bless your neighbor for putting his neck on the line and trying to make a difference locally.

  • Lastly, if you give, expect nothing in return from the candidate or organization except the right to say that you gave.  Donating to candidates should be seen as a selfless act with no strings attached.  The only thing you should expect is that you'll wind up on someones public report, and that you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll become a magnet for future political solicitations.



This original blog post can be found on

Disclaimer: This entry and others will be modified/updated at a future date. All entries are for the sole purpose of entertainment

No comments: