Back in January of this year, Unity08 unveiled its Clean Money Pledge, demanding that presidential campaigns adhere to it. The text of it reads:
“Change in Washington starts at the top. I will only vote for a presidential candidate who has raised at least half of his/her funds through small contributions of $250 or less. I am sick and tired of power in Washington built on lobbying money and special interests.”
When Unity08 rolled out the pledge, it said it had had enough of talk about money in politics… it was time for action:
The Clean Money Pledge: It’s Time to Walk the Talk
Like the weather, most politicians pay lip service to the dangers of special interest lobbyist money in Washington, but few do anything about it â€“except take the money.
Unity08 promised “weâ€™ll keep you, the press and the public updated” on the actions of presidential campaigns regarding the Clean Money Pledge.
How has Unity08 followed through? Well, if you visit the registered corporation’s front page, you’ll see links to news stories about big money in politics. So yes, Unity08 is talking its talk. But what is Unity08 actually doing?
==> Unity08 has racked up big-money IOUs from a firm of lawyers and registered lobbyists in order to file a lawsuit so that it can take financial contributions and loans of unlimited size. The final decision on this lawsuit is pending.
==> Unity08 has drawn up documents to solicit zero-interest loans to be paid back at the sole discretion of Unity08. In my universe, we call that a gift. Under the terms Unity08 is seeking in its lawsuit, it wouldn’t have to disclose the source of such “loans.”
==> Unity08 failed to meet the standards of its own Clean Money Pledge in the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 4th Quarters of 2006 (it didn’t raise money in the 1st Quarter of 2006). And, unless it has grabbed a whopping number of donations from those giving less than $200, it will fail to meet the standards of its own Clean Money Pledge in the 1st and 2nd Quarters of 2007, too. IRS disclosure forms that will reveal Unity08’s finances for the 1st and 2nd Quarters of 2007 are due on the last day of this month.
==> Unity08 has not spoken or written a word about its own Clean Money Pledge for months, failing to keep us little citizen people updated on the behavior of presidential campaigns as it said it would.
Well, if Unity08 won’t do it, why don’t we?
Let’s start with the campaign of Mike Gravel. Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission reveal that in the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2007, Mike Gravel received $151,616.52 in campaign contributions, all of which came from individuals and none of which came from PACs. Only 30.9% of that money came from contributions of more than $250.
Mike Gravel is 69.1% “clean” by Unity08’s standards. But where’s the notice of Gravel’s accomplishment? Why hasn’t Unity08 said a word? It appears that Unity08 is too busy talking the talk while Gravel’s campaign actually walks the walk.