Tag: fundraising

Why I’m alarmed that Jill Stein requested the Wisconsin U.S. presidential race recount

Failed presidential candidates Jill Stein and Rocky De La Fuente have officially requested a recount in the presidential race in the state of Wisconsin, which has 10 electoral votes.

While Stein and De La Fuente have the legal right in Wisconsin to request a recount, I’m really worried that Democrats could lose a ton of voters to Stein’s Green Party over this.

Currently, the Democratic Party is in what is perhaps its weakest state in modern American history, having just lost control of the White House to a fringe-right Republican, handing complete control of every major lever of power at the federal level (the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court) to a far-right Republican Party.

The fact that Stein, not Hillary Clinton, is the one leading the charge for a recount in Wisconsin, and the fact that Stein has raised a ton of money for her recount fund, is, in a way, downright alarming to me. You have to remember that the Democratic Party is not in anything resembling a strong position right now, the current Democratic Party establishment is completely untrusted by many left-wing Democratic voters, and many left-wing voters are going to perceive the Green Party, a minor left-wing political party, as the party of election integrity.

The political structure in this country incentives a strong two-party system, which is what we have in this country. One thing that I like to say about the American political system and electorate is that we have a strong two-party system, but we don’t have a strong two-party electorate. By that, I mean that, while there are enough hyperpartisan voters for one of the major political parties in this country to keep the two-party system going, there are plenty of voters who don’t like the two-party system for whatever reason(s). I consider myself to be part of the anti-establishment left, but I realize that the structure of the electoral system in this county incentives a two-party system, so I vote for Democratic nominees in the general election, even though Democrats typically don’t nominate candidates who are as left-wing as I am.

If the Green Party can gain enough of a political foothold in this country to get several percent of the vote nationally and in most states on a regular basis, then the Republicans are going to have complete control of this country at the federal level for a generation or two, if not even longer, even if they only get 45% or so of the popular vote nationally. The fact that Stein has been able to raise millions of dollars for a recount fund tells me that scenario is certainly possible going forward, and that frightens me.

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WI Assembly candidate Mandy Wright running very transparent fundraising operation

In one of the more unorthodoxly transparent political fundraising strategies I’ve seen, former high school football player, educator, and one-term former Wisconsin State Representative Mandy Wright, who is running for a second non-consecutive term in the Wisconsin Assembly, is making at least some of her fundraising emails available to anyone who can access her campaign’s Twitter page. Normally, candidates only make fundraising emails accessible to those who are on their list of people who have registered to receive campaign emails, however, Wright has posted links to several of her fundraising emails on her Twitter page.

Wright’s most recent, publicly-available fundraising email sharply criticizes the conservative-controlled Marathon County (WI) Board for promoting “intolerance and rash, harmful decisions for our most vulnerable neighbors” and calls for rebuilding Marathon County “with a coalition of progressive champions…young voters, minority voters and our neighborhoods who have been disenfranchised by the political process”. In another recent, publicly-available fundraising email, Wright vowed not to “let this district be bought by a lobbyist again”, referring to a right-wing, anti-public education group spending a boatload of money late in the 85th Assembly District of Wisconsin race last year, in which Wright narrowly lost re-election to far-right Republican Dave Heaton. Heaton is not seeking a second term in office.

Mandy is not hiding anything in her fundraising efforts, and that’s a good thing.

Donald Trump violates U.S. federal election laws by sending fundraising emails to foreign politicians

Current and/or former elected officials in no fewer than six foreign countries have received campaign fundraising emails from the campaign of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States. The countries in which current and/or former elected officials have received fundraising solicitations from Trump include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom. In at least one case, a former head of government of a foreign country received a fundraising solicitation from Trump.

Trump has only recently started using emails to solicit campaign donations, and it first became clear that the Trump campaign’s email list had serious flaws when Katherine Clark, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party, received a Trump email, despite the fact that Clark is a known supporter of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. However, no laws were violated by Trump when his campaign sent an fundraising solicitation to Clark, because Clark is a United States citizen.

However, numerous current and former members of parliament in at least six foreign countries have clearly indicated that the Trump campaign has sent fundraising solicitations to individuals who are not United States citizens. Under the federal election laws of the United States, it is illegal for an American presidential candidate to solicit campaign donations from individuals who are not United States citizens.

At least two members of the Australian House of Representatives, Tim Watts and Joanne Ryan, reported via Twitter that they had received emails from the Trump campaign asking for campaign donations:

Both Watts and Ryan are members of the Australian Labour Party.

In case you are wondering who the former head of government who received a Trump campaign fundraising email is, it is former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who was the last member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, which is now defunct, to serve as prime minister:

The fact that the Trump campaign tried to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, which is not owned by Trump, to Campbell for a big discount proves that the Trump campaign is completely incompetent.

Ida Auken, a member of the Danish Parliament, also received a fundraising email from Trump:

Auken is a member of the Danish Social Liberal Party.

Anders Adlercreutz, a member of the Parliament of Finland, confirmed to Josh Marshall of the American political website Talking Points Memo that members of the Finnish Parliament have received Trump fundraising emails:

Adlercreutz is a member of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

The Iceland Monitor has reported that Katrín Jakobsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic Parliament, was one of at least three members of the Icelandic Parliament to receive campaign fundraising emails from Trump. Jakobsdóttir is the leader of the Icelandic Left-Green Alliance.

However, the strongest critic of the Trump fundraising emails to foreign politicians is Natalie McGarry, a member of the British House of Commons from the Glasgow area in Scotland. After receiving a fundraising email from Donald Trump, Jr., who was acting on behalf of his dad’s presidential campaign, McGarry wrote a response to the younger Trump in which she strongly criticized the elder Trump’s hateful, bigoted rhetoric and told the younger Trump that she hoped that American voters “reject your father fundamentally at the ballot box”. McGarry is not a member of any political party, although she was a member of the Scottish National Party until 2015. An online friend of mine posted to her social media page McGarry’s letter to the younger Trump, and it has been shared online over 1,700 times:

None of the foreign elected officials donated any money to Trump, to the best of my knowledge.

Donald Trump has proven that his presidential campaign is absolutely incompetent when it comes to operating an email list, and he has broken the law by attempting to solicit campaign donations from foreign politicians.

Hillary donors claim that Bernie is raising more money than Hillary

Well, this is interesting, to put it mildly…many of Hillary Clinton’s campaign donors expect Bernie Sanders to raise more money than her when the next round of federal campaign finance reports are filed next month, according to this POLITICO report:

Hillary Clinton’s donors say they think Bernie Sanders will raise more money in the fourth quarter than their candidate for the first time ever — a testament to the underdog’s online cash juggernaut and a harbinger of donor fatigue among the front-runner’s backers.

[…]

…Over the past few days, Clinton’s advisers have taken steps to stoke donor enthusiasm: Bill and Chelsea Clinton, who on Monday announced she is pregnant with her second child, have stepped up their fundraising for the campaign. They are expected to become even more involved in the campaign beginning in January.

And many of the donors POLITICO has interviewed over the last few months say the widespread perception that’s she’s a shoo-in is prompting would-be donors to remain on the sidelines — waiting to throw their financial support behind her for the only race they believe truly matters — the general election.

It’s also worth noting that the Bernie fundraising strategy of relying virtually entirely on small donors has one big advantage: Bernie can get many of the same small donors to donate to his campaign over and over again. This stands in contrast to the Hillary fundraising strategy, as many of Hillary’s big-money donors have already donated the maximum amount of money that one can legally donate to a federal campaign committee.

Hillary Clinton’s “Scott Walker” problem

Hillary Clinton has a “Scott Walker” problem on her hands.

Specifically, CNN is reporting that Hillary Clinton apparently intends to violate federal laws by raising money for a SuperPAC that is supporting her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination:

Hillary Clinton’s decision to personally raise money for a super PAC supporting her campaign is agitating her progressive critics, who see the move as further proof that the Democratic presidential frontrunner doesn’t share some of their values.

[…]

Within days of announcing her White House bid, Clinton had called out wealthy investors for paying too little in taxes and pledged to get big money out of politics. At the time, it was a welcome message for liberal Democrats who are uncomfortable with Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street and find the prominent role of super PACs in elections utterly distasteful.

But the recent revelation that Clinton will personally fundraise for a super PAC supporting her campaign — a decision to play by the rules of a system she has condemned as “dysfunctional” — has invited fresh eye-rolling. It has also exposed a core tension for Democrats, who have increasingly embraced super PACs at the same time that they decry the explosion of soft money in national politics.

The name of the SuperPAC in question is Priorities USA Action, a SuperPAC that was originally formed to support Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, but is now one of many pro-Hillary SuperPACs for the 2016 presidential election. No criminal charges have been filed against Hillary at this time, and there doesn’t appear to be any kind of criminal investigation into this matter at this time, apparently because the Priorities USA Action fundraisers featuring Hillary haven’t been held yet.

Hillary Clinton is a total hypocrite when it comes to money in politics. While she’s publicly complained about the ridiculous influence of big-money politics, she’s embracing that same ridiculous influence of big-money politics by intending to apparently violate the law to fundraise for one of the SuperPACs that are supporting her campaign. Hillary does not appear to be playing by the rules at all. In fact, she’s made it clear that she wants to apparently violate federal laws that prohibit illegal coordination between SuperPACs and candidates for federal elected office.

When I said that Hillary has a “Scott Walker” problem on her hands, what I mean by that is that Hillary intends to do is no different that what Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, himself an unofficial candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, did when he knew that he and several of his allies were going to face recall elections. Walker illegally solicited $700,000 from Gogebic Taconite, a mining company that has never actually operated a mine, but bought weaker environmental laws in Wisconsin, to the Wisconsin chapter of the right-wing political front group Club for Growth. Here’s how The Progressive magazine’s Rebecca Kemble reported that story when documents from the ongoing, but stalled, John Doe II investigation into Walker and his allies showing that Walker illegally solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit a right-wing group were released last year:

Even though all limits on the size of direct campaign donations are removed for candidates facing recall elections in Wisconsin, the Walker campaign still found it necessary to hide the source of the millions it solicited during 2011-2012 to keep him and his legislative allies in power.

According to emails between Walker campaign staff, the Wisconsin Club for Growth was the dark money clearinghouse that apparently coordinated “issue advocacy and “correct messaging” with the Walker campaign. Much of the money that came in the WiCFG door went back out to other political operatives like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Citizens for a Strong America and the Jobs First Coalition to back Walker and Republican state senators facing recall or special elections in 2012.

GTac bought weaker environmental laws in Wisconsin by supporting anti-environment politicians so they could build an iron ore mine in Northern Wisconsin in violation of Native American treaties, but GTac recently decided to scrap the project entirely.

Hillary Clinton is just as unethical as the odious Scott Walker is, and that’s why progressive-minded Democrats can’t afford Hillary being our party’s presidential nominee.

Ladies and gentlemen, Berniementum is for real

U.S. Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issued this announcement, via Twitter, of the roaring success of first day of the Sanders presidential campaign:

You can read more about the growing momentum behind the Sanders presidential campaign here.

To put that into perspective, Sanders raised his $1,500,000+ first-day haul with the support of small donors who contributed an average of less than $50 to the Sanders campaign. Since Sanders received over $1.5 million from 35,000 individuals, that means that the average first-day donor to the Sanders campaign contributed approximately $42.86 to the Sanders campaign. Sanders raised more on day one of his presidential campaign than each of the three Republicans who are officially running for president, and he didn’t need a handful of big-money donors to do so. In fact, Hillary Clinton, Bernie’s primary challenger, refused to disclose her first-day fundraising total for reasons unknown, which absolutely shocked me.

While the 100,000+ people who have pledged their support to the Sanders campaign represent only approximately 0.57% of the people who voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses, if those 100,000+ people that the Sanders campaign is referring to are people who have pledged to volunteer for the Sanders campaign, that gives Sanders a very large base of volunteers to help convince Democratic primary and caucus voters to vote for Bernie.

The big success of the first day of the Sanders campaign is despite the best efforts of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to sabotage the Sanders campaign by using Sanders’s campaign launch to raise money for…you guessed it, the DNC. The DNC should wait until there’s either an official Democratic presidential nominee or a Democratic presidential candidate with at least the minimum number of delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination before using any of the declared Democratic presidential candidates to raise money for the DNC.

Berniementum is for real, and that’s because the American people want a presidential candidate who will fight to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and middle class.

Progress Illinois, one of the few sources for quality news and information about Illinois politics, needs your help in order to stay online

Progress Illinois, a website that provides quality news and information about Illinois politics from a progressive perspective, is currently running on a shoestring budget and could be forced to shut down completely unless enough people are able to donate enough money in order to keep Progress Illinois online and operating. Currently, Progress Illinois has enough funds to continue operating for the next month or so.

While Progress Illinois is making attempts to establish a fundraising network, consisting of fundraising campaigns, a formal board to assist with fundraising, and an annual fundraising gala, to stay online and operating in the long term, they need all the help they can get. While I don’t have the means to donate money to Progress Illinois or otherwise assist with their fundraising efforts beyond writing this blog post, if you wish to donate money to Progress Illinois or otherwise help with Progress Illinois’s fundraising efforts, please contact Arica Flowers at Arica@ProgressIllinois.com.

Candidate for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson Jason Rae blocked me on Twitter because I asked him a question

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not a big fan of Jason Rae, one of three candidates (the other two being Joe Wineke and Jeff Smith) who are currently running for chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW).

However, Rae has proven that he can’t take criticism from political bloggers like me: he’s blocked me on Twitter.

Apparently, Rae blocked me on Twitter after I questioned him over including a link on his campaign website allowing people to donate money to his state party chair campaign. Given that the only significant expenses incurred in a campaign for an office like DPW chair are travel-related expenses (gasoline, etc.) and expenses related to keeping the campaign website online for six months or so, and candidates for DPW chair, if I’m not mistaken, don’t have campaign committees registered with state election authorities that can run paid advertising and do other things that candidates for offices like Governor of Wisconsin and seats in the Wisconsin State Legislature, I think it’s really absurd for Rae to solicit money for a race for DPW chair.

Unfortunately, instead of answering my question, Rae decided to block me on Twitter, something that people like Mary Burke, Susan Happ, and Mike Tate haven’t done despite the fact that I’ve heavily criticized them as well. That proves that Rae, just like Scott Walker and Richard Nixon, is a vindictive coward who can’t take criticism from others, and I would be willing to do anything except move to Wisconsin and run for DPW chair myself to prevent him from becoming the state Democratic Party chairperson in a state that could very well decide which party controls the White House and the U.S. Senate in the 2016 elections. Wisconsin Democrats can not afford to be led by another vindictive chairperson who uses the office of state party chair to play Chicago-style machine politics by undermining progressive campaigns and rewarding political insiders.

The more I learn about Jason Rae, the prouder I am to be on his political enemies list.

Scott Walker absolutely sucks at holiday greetings

In case you missed it, Scott Walker, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin and likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2016 elections, greeted Franklyn Gimbel, a Milwaukee attorney who wanted a menorah, a nine-branched candle tree that is lit during the eight-day Jewish holiday Hanukkah, displayed in the Milwaukee County Courthouse when Walker was the county executive of Wisconsin’s largest county, by saying “Molotov”, refering to improvised incendiary devices consisting of glass bottles filled with flammable material, when he meant to say “Mazel tov”, a common way of congratulating someone in the Hebrew language.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Walker has royally fucked up a holiday greeting.

Walker, who will use virtually anything to raise money for his perpetual political campaign, sent out a fundraising email last year that asked his far-right supporters to not give their kids Christmas gifts and to donate money to his gubernatorial campaign committee instead, as I, Chris “Capper” Liebenthal, and many others in both the blogosphere and the news media reported on last year. That email earned Walker a lot of negative press in Wisconsin, nationally, and even internationally, and deservedly so, since only a narcissistic jackass who is only concerned about his own political ambitions would send out an email like that.

Scott Walker has proven time and time again that he absolutely sucks at holiday greetings. He’s not presidential material, and neither are any of the other Republicans who are either running or considering running for president.