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October 20, 2008


John Petty

Nothing can make a person "incorruptible." The average donation may be $86 but you can bet that millions of those millions are bundled from various corporations.

That's not a criticism necessarily--I voted for him--but he'll need to be watched just like all the rest of them.


I can see how you might think that having money and millions of supporters makes Obama incorruptible, but, in fact, it never does work out that way. Does anyone still remember Richard Nixon? He was the incumbent, far ahead in support and money in 1972, but still couldn't resist the temptation to bug Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, D.C. He ended up resigning in disgrace, the only U.S. president ever to resign. I'm not saying he was the worst president ever, although that's kind of what I figured before George W. Bush, but he was the only one who had to resign.


Nixon's corruption didn't appear to have much to do with money or contributions. I guess I should be clear that I'm questioning whether Obama's finances take the most prevalent and accepted form of corruption - buying access and influence through large campaign donations - off the table. There's plenty of other ways someone can be corrupt.

John Petty, there's surely some corporate money in there, and indeed millions of it. But with an average of $86 a donation, there's just not a ton of bundling going on. The vast majority of the donors simply must be small donors, as it only takes a tiny percentage of $2300 donors to pull the average far higher. You could rip all the big donors out of this and it would still be a record-breaking haul.

Deb Cupples (Buck Naked Politics)

HI Adam!

It's not just about donors giving $2,300 (x2). It's more about the bundling -- and Obama has benefited from MAJOR bundling by lobbyists (yes, federally registered), their law firms, securities firms, investment banks....

His top-10 largest "bundles" came from folks including Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citigroup. Even GE managed to make it into his top-20.

WE both think Obama is a better bet than McCain, but incorruptible? I seriously doubt it. [If nothing else, remember Telecom Amensty?]

I also don't think it's accurate to say that Obama "doesn't need" all those big interests from whom he got so much money.

It's easier to count on the big interests for FUTURE (i.e., repeat) big donations than it is to count on a bunch of little folks.

How are you, btw?


The impact of bundling is largely reflected in the average donation size. The point is that even after considering all the bundled $2300 checks, the lion's share of Obama's funding has come from small individual donor sources.

I'm not denying that Obama's gotten a lot of endorsements from big business sources. I'm just saying that he's less dependent on them than other politicians, because of his unfathomably huge small donor base. It also bears mentioning that that donor base HAS proven dependable, as lots of people have given $25 and $50 donations from the primary all the way into the general election.

I wouldn't characterize Telco Amnesty position Obama took as corruptly giving in to the desires of big donors. Rather, I think it was a calculated decision to cave on FISA so that McCain would not be able to make it a campaign issue. Either way it's not a charitable interpretation of Obama's motives, but I see it as a cowardly/unprincipled decision, rather than a corrupt one. You may or may not see this as a distinction without a difference.

I'm doing well, just pretty busy lately. I do intend to tackle the cap-and-trade issue before the election rolls around.

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