Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Non-profits and the A.G.'s blogging buddy

marjorie says...

I've been wondering when Joe Monahan would get back to what always seem to me to be quite biased takes on the dispute between our non-profits and the AG. Just check out his language today: "veil of secrecy," "hit list," "blatantly political,"...the list goes on. Joe seems to really believe that a mailer sent to a candidates district at least two months prior to a primary election can swing that election.

Later in his blog, he touches on public financing for the Mayor's race. Pointing out that the rules prohibit self-financed candidates from taking donations from corporations, he says that Marty Chavez is sure to go with public financing if he runs again.

"Unless a wealthy self-financed candidate surfaces, the public finance playing field stands to benefit the well-known and incumbent Chavez. How ironic," Monahan says.

What's ironic about it?

An incumbent always has the advantage of being well-known. That's one of the main reasons incumbents are hard to beat. While leveling the money makes it much more doable for relatively unknown challengers--winning requires a lot more. But it's as though only money is at play in an election, in Joe's mind. What about the nuts and bolts work of knocking on doors and going to community meetings, to actually get to know people?

If a level playing field when it comes to money still gives a long-time incumbent the advantage, to the point of it being "ironic," then surely Joe can admit that the three incumbents who lost to challengers during the primary last spring had big advantages. And at least in one case--if campaign finance reports are any indication--there was a big money advantage as well. The challengers didn't have established donors or name recognition to lean on for raising money. But they did have strong field campaigns that had a lot of volunteers slogging away for months on the doors. The idea that a mailer months before an election can swing that election is a little ridiculous to me.

Speaking of, has anyone noticed that Joe hasn't pointed out that the lawsuit filed against the winners and a laundry list of non-profits by the three incumbents was tossed out of court because it had no merit? Where's that blog? I keep looking for it.

Another blog I keep looking for is one explaining why its a problem to point out to the public who gives money to legislators and how those legislators vote on issues important to those donors.

Public financing? We most definitely need it at the state level.