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Unity08 Donors: People Like You? Part IV

Today is the fourth day (see Friday’s, Thursday’s and Wednesday’s posts) in which I look at Unity08’s 4th Quarter donors, in order from top to bottom, and provide some context to help you decide whether Unity08’s claim that its donors are “everyday Americans and “people like you.”

Working line by line down the 4th Quarter report by Unity08 to the IRS and adding in additional information, here is the next bunch:

1. Henry Nichols, $1,000 donation. According to Zillow, Nichols lives in a 2 bedroom house sized at 1472 square feet and valued at $462,454. Sure, that might fit in the range of an “everyday American,” if by that you mean someone who isn’t living wildly beyond the means of an American who is at the high-income range of “everyday.”

2. Joseph Parlante, $200 donation. Parlante lives in a home with an undisclosed number of bedrooms, sized 2,130 square feet. The estimated value of his home — $946,904 — is pretty far above the national median, but not so hugely above the national median as in our previous days’ donors. Joseph Parlante is one of the “people like you” — one of the more comfortably situated, but still roughly like most Americans.

3. Leslie Reed, $200 donation. Leslie Reed works as part of Reed Environmental and lives in a house valued under $200,000. Reed would certainly fit as one of those “everyday Americans.”

4. Jay Tullis, $75 donation in the 4th quarter ($275 total in 2006). Tullis’ home in Tyrone, Georgia measures 3,752 feet. That’s pretty big. His house is valued at $266,104 — which is a fair amount for Tyrone, Georgia. But it’s not hugely, hugely outlandish by national standards. Let’s be generous to Unity08 and put Tullis in the “everyday Americans” column — although with Tullis’ house size, it’s a pretty good day we’re talking about.

5. Leonard Brown, $200 donation. Brown lives in an apartment at a retirement community in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sure, this might be one of the “people like you.”

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This group of donors shows that yes, some of Unity08’s donors are people who are roughly speaking “like you,” or at least not fantastically privileged donors. The real reference group for “people like you” is “people who contribute to political campaigns” — and that group is almost never going to include members of the poor, the working class, or the lower-middle-class. These people are pretty typical of political givers.

We’re not done with the list of donors yet. Look for more tomorrow.

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