As the new year of 2007 dawned, Unity08 rolled out a Clean Money Pledge. It challenged members of the public to sign on to a statement in which they committed to the following plan of action: “I will only vote for a presidential candidate who has raised more than half of his/her funds through small contributions of $250 or less.” It further sent out letters to presidential candidates in the Republican and Democratic parties, challenging them to commit to take a majority of their funds from contributions of $250 or less.
In an aside, Unity08 noted:
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.
Well, if a new President is going to try to talk the talk of cleaning up the lobbyist money culture in Washington that so corrodes the democratic process, he or she had better have walked the walk in their 2008 campaign.
I don’t understand how the weather pays lip service to the dangers of special interest lobbyist money in Washington, but let’s put English major concerns aside for a moment. Has Unity08 followed the spirit of its own Clean Money Pledge? Has it walked the walk or just talked the talk? Now that Unity08 has filed public-domain papers with the IRS detailing its contributions for the first six months of 2007, we can assess that directly.
Here’s the breakdown of contributions from that report for the period of 1/1/2007 – 6/30/2007:
Total contributions: $832,685
Three Loans of $250000, $100,000 and $100,000: $450,000
Itemized contributions of at least $200 but no more than $250: $6,400
Unitemized contributions of less than $200: $105,884
The total amount of “clean money” received by Unity08, then, is $112,284.
Do you count the three massive loans Unity08 received from three very rich people (under as-yet-unknown terms) as contributions? If so, then of the money Unity08 collected during the 1st half of 2007, only 13.5% of it is clean, and 86.5% of it is dirty. Even if you don’t count the three massive loans, 29.3% of Unity08’s money is clean and 70.7% of Unity08’s money is dirty.
In conclusion, Unity08 has failed its own Clean Money Pledge for the 1st half of 2007, just as it failed the Clean Money Pledge in 2006.