Internet Fundraising and Campaigning by hdh47907

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									Internet Fundraising
 and Campaigning

     Professor Rick Hasen
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  http://electionlawblog.org

     COGEL Conference
      December2008
Outline
   1. What issues does the proliferation of
      Internet-based fundraising and
      campaigning raise for campaign finance
      regulators?
   2. The coming (and arrived) explosion of
      Internet-based small donor fundraising:
      data and disclosure issues
   3. The convergence of Internet and
      television: dangers of regulatory drag
      and obsolescence
Issues Raised for Regulators by
Internet-Based Campaigning and
Regulating

    Treatment of candidate and other
     committee web advertising
    Treatment of candidate and other
     committee communications (solicitations,
     value of email lists, posting of video
     material)
    Use of corporate/union owned computers,
     servers, etc.
    My focus: small donor issues and
     internet-television convergence
Small Donation Issues: The Obama
phenomenon and the shape of
things to come
 Perhaps the most important way that the
 Internet has affected fundraising and
 campaigning is through a dramatic lowering
 of costs associated with small donation
 issue.

 Cheap speech and proliferation of
 credit/debit card internet based commerce
 has caused an explosion of small donation
 fundraising on the internet
Presidential small donation
fundraising during primary seasons,
2000, 2004, 2008
(small donor data from Campaign Finance Institute reports)




                           Figure 5. Total Millions of Dollars Raised During
                             Primary Season in Amounts Under $200 by
                                      Eventual Party Nominees

                     250
      $ (millions)




                     200
                     150
                     100
                      50
                       0
                              Gore      Bush     Kerry    Bush    Obama    McCain
                             (2000)    (2000)   (2004)   (2004)   (2008)   (2008)
                                                   candidate
Percentage of money raised in
micro-donations, 2000, 2004, 2008
   2000 primary season

   Al Gore 20%
   George W. Bush 16%

   2004 primary season
   John Kerry    37%
   George W. Bush 31%

   2008 Primary season
   Barack Obama 53%
   John McCain 31%
   (Hillary Clinton 36%)
The sheer volume of donations raise
data collection and processing
issues for regulators


   With presidential candidates attracting up to
    millions of donors, campaign regulators
    face problems dealing with mountains of
    data.

   As public gets more comfortable with
     internet-based giving, more of it will take
     place on the sub-presidential level.
Special issues involving micro-
donors

   Micro-donors give <$200 in the
   aggregate during a federal
   campaign, and currently are
   itemized information not
   reported to FEC.
Amount raised from micro-
donors, 2008 primary season

                      Figure 7. Total Millions of Dollars Raised From
                         Micro-Donors (Giving Under $200 in the
                         Aggregate) by Eventual Party Nominees

                150
 $ (millions)




                100

                50

                 0
                        Kerry (2004)   Bush (2004)   Obama (2008)   McCain (2008)
                                               candidate
More on Micro-Donor Fundraising in
2008 Primary Season
  Candidate Amount      % of individual
            raised in   contributions
            millions    raised from
            from        micro-donors
            micro-
            donors
  Kerry     $43.1       20%

  Bush      $64         25%
  (2004)
  Obama     $117.7      26%

  McCain    $42.9       21%
Concern over Lack of Reporting
Requirements for Micro-Donors

  Some in public raised concerns about illegal
  contributions (illegal source or excess
  contributions)

  Possible congressional move to expand
  disclosure

  Disclosure of small donors raises both
  administrative and constitutional issues.

  My alternative: disclosure to FEC, not public,
  with mandatory audits of this aspect of all
  campaigns
The coming convergence of
television and the Internet

   A number of special laws apply only to
     television and radio advertisements (e.g.,
     federal limits on corporate and union
     spending on “electioneering
     communications”)

   As people begin to get more of their
     “television” content through their
     computers, cell phones, and iPods, what
     is to become of existing regulations?
Possible paths
   1. Obsolescence (law doesn’t change, but
      practices become unregulated)

   2. Law is updated to comport with changed
      usages
     a. Resistance (FEC regulatory example)
     b. Drafting difficulties

   3. Unintended consequences (Law does
      not function as it should because it is
      applied in a new area)
Choosing an Approach
   Regulators should

   1.   Figure out goal existing law was meant to meet
   2.   Confirm relevant constituency still wants this
        goal met.
   3.   Consider how rise of Internet-based campaign
        activity might interfere with achieving goal.
   4.   Determine whether it is possible to meet goal
        through (1) existing law; (2) revised
        law/regulations; or (3) repeal of existing law.

								
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