Can the Republicans turn Barack Obama’s massive fundraising effort into a negative? They’re certainly going to try. Yesterday, the RNC launched a new website that lists all of the donors who gave less than $200 since John McCain officially became the GOP nominee for President, when he ended his own fundraising to accept public financing. Obama, who reneged on his promise to use public financing, refuses to release donor information on donations under the same level. ABC’s Jake Tapper takes notice:
In an attempt at political jujitsu (soon to enter the Hall of Verboten Clichés — but not yet), the McCain campaign and the RNC have been attempting to put Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on the defensive about his record-shattering fundraising, which includes an unprecedented $150 million September.
Obama, of course, opted out of public financing despite an earlier pledge to do so, an issue of real contention for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who (rightly) feels it’s a broken promise Obama hasn’t gotten much heat for from either the media or government reform proponents.
More recently, Republicans have been pointing out that Obama does not disclose the names of donors who contribute less than $200 to his campaign. He is under no legal obligation to do so, but his failure to provide those names, it can certainly be argued, doesn’t live up to his pledges of transparency and openness. …
I myself haven’t heard a good reason as to why Obama is refusing to disclose the names of these donors, unlike the McCain campaign.
There really is no good reason not to reveal their donors. If the RNC can do it with a website in the middle of a presidential campaign, then the Obama campaign certainly can as well. Do they want to admit to a certain amount of incompetence at basic data management that will undermine their tech-savvy patina, especially after shooting themselves in the foot for making fun of John McCain’s inability to use e-mail? I think not.
Politico’s Ben Smith offers one possible explanation:
The Obama camp hasn’t a terribly clear explanation of its refusal to go beyond the legal requirement, but there’s one straightforward political reason: Disclosing your small donors means that other Democrats can hit up your list. Keeping them secret enhances the power of Obama and his organization within Democratic politics.
That doesn’t make much sense. The RNC’s site only lists first and last name and the amount of the donation, and no other contact information. That won’t help any other candidates in building a donor list for themselves. Besides, isn’t the party leader supposed to help other candidates?
It looks more like Team Obama doesn’t want people perusing the massive numbers of donors with names like Qwerty Poiuy, Asdfgh Lkjh’;, and Zxcvb Mn09876 from the states of PO, ZX, and QW. So much for openness and transparency.