Dollar Bill's Big Donors
by Martin Peretz


Martin Peretz,
"Washington Diarist,"
The New Republic,
October11, 1999:

Relying on research by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, the Associated Press released an especially revealing article on July 22. It broke down each candidate's contribution total (in number of contributors and in actual money received) by the percentages of small and large contributions.

There was no surprise in the comparison between George W. Bush's tallies and Al Gore's. The $37 million Bush raised in the first six months of this year came from 74,000 people, of whom 30,000 (or 41 percent) gave less than $200, together amounting to $1.9 million, just over five percent of Bush's total. Gore's contributions totaled $17.5 million and came from nearly 99,000 people, more than 80 percent of whom gave in quantities of less than $200.The little guys' contributions came to $2 million, or 11.1 percent, of Gore's total. (The Gore camp told me the figure is $3.5 million, or 20 percent of the total.) And Bradley, the newly minted populist who has announced, "I am raising money from ordinary citizens, not from special interest PACs"

? Well, banks are not exactly PACs, but bankers are very efficient bundlers. In the first six months of this year, employees of J.P. Morgan and their families contributed $55,100 to Bradley's campaign. Add to that number the $55,750 contributed by executives and families of the investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

Then there were the pharmaceutical executives and the insurance executives. Out of nearly $12 million contributed in the first six months of this year to Bradley, less than $300,000, or just 2.6 percent, came in donations smaller than $200. Bradley had a total of 19,335 contributors, of whom a few more than 5,000, or 26.6 percent, gave less than $200. I don't want to overinterpret these numbers; there's probably no one who doesn't have some checks from bankers. But it is striking (isn't it?) that there should be so many more small contributors, both absolutely and proportionally, to Bush than to Bradley. This disparity is even greater between Bradley's fund-raising and Gore's.

For all his sanctimony, Bradley is the most dependent on big money, more dependent than Bush!



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