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Where should I contribute?
October 19, 2006 1:04 AM   Subscribe

So, not that it matters, but, were I to make a paltry political contribution, what would be the most strategic fund for a donation?

While my heart is naturally quite green, I'm interested in the best place to help the lesser of two necessary unavoidable evils.

Thank you!
posted by cytherea to Law & Government (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If I were you I would donate DCCC (the democratic congressional campaign committee). The DCCC is run by the democrats currently in congress (and headed up by congressman Rahm Emanuel). The DCCC knows everything about the various house races, and by donating to them, you'd be donating directly the democratic insider's current strategy.

The DSCC is the DSCC's counterpart in the senate.

Now, at the moment it's extremely likely that the democrats will win back the house, but the more seats we get the better.

There's still a chance that the Republicans will keep the senate, so probably the DSCC is a better bet, although I personally would donate directly to senate races I like, such as Jim Webb's (against the horrible racist George Allen), or possibly even Ned Lamont in CT. But if you're not following the races closely, it can be difficult to figure out where to send money. For example, my favorite senate candidate this cycle is John Tester in Montana, but today he's way ahead of his opponent, so sending money to him would kind of be a waste.
posted by delmoi at 1:24 AM on October 19, 2006


In 2004 I sent $169 to ACT. They claimed that $169 was enough to rent an shuttle van to bring voters to the polls. Targeted voters. I felt it was the most direct and empowering impact I could make.
posted by mmdei at 2:07 AM on October 19, 2006


If you only want to make a small contribution, I'd look for a decent candidate for some local office. They need the money more, and you can probably follow up with them to find out exactly what it was used for (something like mmdei's idea sounds good).
posted by robcorr at 3:49 AM on October 19, 2006


When I was in DC, a number of my political Dem friends said never to give to the DNC, the money would just go to bureaucratic waste. That may have changed now that Howard Dean is the Chair.

Seconding the D-triple-C, although progressives have problems with Rahm, or pick a Senate race of interest. VA Senate (Macaca) is probably the closest at this time and most strategic, although Webb is nowhere near a Green.
posted by orthogonality at 5:07 AM on October 19, 2006


The DCCC has announced that it opened a $10 million line of credit to cover costs of this election. It doesn't know how much of that it will spend, but it plans to spend whatever it takes. So I don't think contributions (especially small ones) will affect how much is actually spent.

Contributions to individual candidates in small media markets are more likely to have an actual effect, as are contributions to groups like ACT and MoveOn.
posted by raf at 5:59 AM on October 19, 2006


How about Black Box Voting? They're going to be working awfully hard in a month's time, and probably hiring lots of lawyers.
posted by bink at 6:01 AM on October 19, 2006


This site just has a blurb on the DCCC and the DSCC (scroll down). Gave them a lot of credit for the Democratic chances this cycle.
posted by smackfu at 6:25 AM on October 19, 2006


Jennifer Brunner
posted by Otis at 7:16 AM on October 19, 2006


I second the 'pick a local candidate' option. I'd also say that it's important to pick one place for your money instead of spreading it amoung many groups. Finally, I'd pick a candidate who you can tell is using lots of volunteer labor (you might see folks campaigning for them at the transit station or flyering for them around the neighborhood). You can bet this candidate is making as efficient use of their money as possible.

I work for a large nonprofit that does political advocacy. I actually process donations. When a small donation comes in, say, twenty bucks, I spend a few work-minutes entering that check into a spreadsheet, then I spend time photocopying it and colating it with the report, then my coworker enters it into a database, then I FedEx it (with other checks of course) at the cost of 20 to 30 bucks to our national office which enters it into another, financial database, and then actually physically takes it to the bank. At the end of the month someone has to reconcille it with our bankstatement.

I am quite confident that the original 20 dollar donation is completely eaten up by the cost of processing it.
posted by serazin at 9:04 AM on October 19, 2006


We were just discussing how to vote Green with your wallet and vote for the Dems with your ballot. Come on over and share your opinion.

Zaadz: "We're gonna change the world. Our math goes like this: you be the change + you follow your bliss + you give your greatest strengths to the world moment to moment to moment + we do everything in our power to help you succeed + you inspire and empower everyone you know to do the same + we team up with millions like us = we just affected billions = we (together) changed the world."
posted by TauLepton at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2006


The DCCC has announced that it opened a $10 million line of credit to cover costs of this election. It doesn't know how much of that it will spend, but it plans to spend whatever it takes. So I don't think contributions (especially small ones) will affect how much is actually spent.

From what I understand, they are only borrowing against money they expect to make this cycle. In other words, they are spending donations they expect to get in the next three weeks.

When I was in DC, a number of my political Dem friends said never to give to the DNC, the money would just go to bureaucratic waste. That may have changed now that Howard Dean is the Chair.

Dean is focusing on the "50 state strategy" rather then spending much money on this election. He's spending some, but he's trying to keep money in the bank to build up local parties and create a more favorable environment in the future. Rham and Dean have been bickering about it for a while.
posted by delmoi at 12:49 PM on October 19, 2006


I work for a large nonprofit that does political advocacy. I actually process donations. When a small donation comes in, say, twenty bucks, I spend a few work-minutes entering that check into a spreadsheet, then I spend time photocopying it and colating it with the report, then my coworker enters it into a database, then I FedEx it (with other checks of course) at the cost of 20 to 30 bucks to our national office which enters it into another, financial database, and then actually physically takes it to the bank. At the end of the month someone has to reconcille it with our bankstatement.

Well, unlike you guys the DSCC and DCCC are not run by morons. Donations are taken online, and the transaction cost can't be more then 50¢ It's probably even less.
posted by delmoi at 12:52 PM on October 19, 2006


By the way, the Green party in PA has been doing everything they can to get Rick Santorum elected. The republican party processed his petition, and lots of republican doners have been donating to the guy's campaign, including the CEO of backwater, the horrible mercenary company in Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, the petitions turned out to be totally fraudulent, and the guy got kicked out of the race, and Santorum is way down in the polls, so it hardly matters anyway. But if the race stayed close, the green could have thrown in to Santorum.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 PM on October 19, 2006


Although I agree that my current employers are morons, I don't think donations anyware are 'free'. If you donate online, a percentage of your money is automatically going to the credit card processing company. Factor in the cost of the internet donation service they use (this is not a small cost mind you), the pay for their development department (who found your name and made sure you received an email asking for money, or tried to find you that way even if you donated for some other reason), the salary for their financial department, the cost of catered board lunches, security cameras at their offices, etc, etc, etc, and your 20 bucks isn't going very far. The larger the organization, the more infrastructure they are supporting.
posted by serazin at 3:33 PM on October 19, 2006


I think the most useful donation would be to MoveOn.Org - they are doing so much with so little that you can't help but know that your small contribution will go further for the progressive reform this country so badly needs than anywhere else.
posted by ptm at 12:02 AM on October 20, 2006


Bernie Sanders has a good chance to be elected to the U.S. Senate as a progressive independent from Vermont.
posted by JDC8 at 9:09 AM on October 22, 2006


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