Posted at 3:45pm on Jun. 18, 2008 Well, at least there's *some* good news coming out of the NRSC. [UPDATE: And NRCC.]

Whether you consider that good news yourself is of course open to question.

By Moe Lane

The NRSC is announcing (via Roll Call) that they have exceeded expectations at this year's President's Dinner fundraiser: $13.5 million, or $1.5 million over their goal (it's a joint fundraiser between them and the NRCC, which was aiming for $7 million; I've got a call out to find out how they did) [UPDATE: They raised $8 million, or $1 million over their goal]. To give perspective, the NRSC's 2007 total was $7.5 million; in 2006, it was $12 million; and in 2004, $7 million. Said dinner will headline the President, but not Senator McCain... which is again one of those things that you can take any way you like; and no doubt, most people will.

Folks, brass tacks time. You're unhappy with the job performance of the GOP's legislative branch. Fair enough; so am I. But it's an election year, and if we want to have fights for offshore drilling (see also this) and investigations into possibly tainted mortgage legislation and logrolling bad legislation - and, oh, yes, doing their part to make sure we don't actually lose the war - then we actually need to have legislators in there doing the fighting.

So... this is the NRSC's donation page. This is the NRCC's donation page. If you can't bear it, really and truly, here's Senator DeMint's new Senate Conservatives Fund. Failing that, there's always the RNC, or a local race. And, of course, John McCain. There's got to be somebody on that list that you can give money to.

The situation is what it is, folks. And the thing about situations is: it can always get worse. It can always get worse.

Moe Lane

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Posted at 11:02am on Jun. 6, 2008 So I'm putting together a story about May 2008 fundraising.

Just a sort of snapshot.

By Moe Lane

The AP notes that McCain has raised $21.5 million in May, with $31.5 million in the bank; while the RNC has raised $23.5 million, with $53.6 in the bank. So I thought that it might be interesting to see what everybody else's numbers were.

I won't go over the gory details of the telephone calls: suffice it to say that you should reasonably expect the Democratic and Republican legislative groups to reveal their numbers somewhere around the filing deadline. And if the DNC ever gets back to me, they'll probably tell me about the same thing. Not bad phone service from any of the groups that I called up, by the way...

Except for the Obama Presidential campaign, oddly enough. You start with a automated voice messaging system (the Congressional/Senatorial groups have actual people taking the calls; that may be a volume thing, of course); followed up by the standard directory. The oddity, however, is that in five minutes of steadily-bemused calling I couldn't actually get a live person on the phone. The "leave-a-message" canned answers were always followed by a "Messages cannot be recorded," followed by a dial-zero-for-attendant, which led right back to "leave-a-message" - while trying to back into the system by hitting other options led to the all-operators-are-busy-please-call-back-later. The one exception I found to this was their contributions line, which gave the option to leave a message, which did work - or, at least, I got a beep. And, of course, the system took every opportunity to send people to the website, which (to me, at least) is corporate shorthand for "We don't actually want to talk to you." By contrast, John McCain 2008 connected me to an actual human being within one minute.

Not to be mean or anything, but I'm guessing that there's a certain difference in priority levels there.

Moe Lane

PS: I'm going to guess that the DNC / Obama folks release their numbers in a few weeks. Whether or it's going to be on a day with a natural disaster going on somewhere else is a question that each person must ask him- or herself.

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Posted at 1:07pm on May 19, 2008 Harkin Up The Wrong Tree

Another of Barack Obama's Wonderful Friends

By Dan McLaughlin

Some things are fairly debable in politics, like how important it really is for a president to have military experience. For my own part, I've argued consistently that yes, it's a very useful experience but not in and of itself an essential one.

Some things are not really debatable, and one of those is that Tom Harkin embarrasses the good people of Iowa every time he opens his mouth on this particular topic. And I don't think he's exactly doing Barack Obama any favors either.

Read On...

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Posted at 11:32pm on Apr. 12, 2008 REDSTATE ROUNDTABLE #6: Should Conservatives Donate To The RNC, NRSC and NRCC?

Earthen Vessels.

By Dan McLaughlin

Dan McLaughlin: In today's campaign finance environment, you can support Republican candidates for public office in one of five ways (correct me if I am missing something here):

1. You can give to them directly through traditional fundraising.

2. You can identify and direct donations to particular candidates through web intermediaries like Rightroots, Big Red Tent, and Slatecard.

3. You can give to the formal party apparatus - the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), or National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) - which then distribute funds to candidates as needed in their own judgment, as well as spending money and running ads for more general party-building activities.

4. You can support a PAC that, in turn, gives money to candidates, although in general that similarly means letting the PAC decide where they money should go.

5. Similarly, you can support advocacy groups (e.g., the Club for Growth) that get involved in campaigns.

Let's focus on #3. A lot of conservatives have been formally or informally boycotting some of these organizations for the past 2-3 years, in some cases due to protests on policy issues (e.g., immigration), but also in some cases due to frustration with the decisions made, most notoriously the NRSC's decision in to pour resources into defending more liberal incumbents in primary challenges by conservatives in Pennsylvana (Arlen Specter in 2004) and Rhode Island (Lincoln Chaffee in 2006), in Chaffee's case in a losing cause that drained away resources that could have been spent in close races in places like Ohio, Montana or Virginia.

The question is: should conservatives give money to these organizations, or some of them, or none?

Roundtable discussion below the fold...

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Posted at 7:38pm on Feb. 19, 2008 Re: NRSC (comments enabled, just because)

By Jeff Emanuel

Adam, that sounds great. However, I wonder if that's just another feel-good scheme that lets some folks wash their hands of the dirty feeling left over from donating to fake-R incumbents and while backfilling that cash imbalance to the rest of the approved slate of candidates with money donated by those who did not earmark their contributions.

That's the way it's done in a lot of places that have optional earmarking of donations. For example, the Combined Federal Campaign, which includes hundreds of charities, takes donations from federal employees every year. Standard donations go to the CFC's general fund, but people who don't want their money going to groups like Amnesty International or the GLBT Boys and Girls Clubs of America can earmark the cash they donate for certain other charities they do believe in.

The catch? Every -- every -- charity that participates in the CFC gets the exact same amount of money from their participation. So, if you earmark your $100 donation to, for example, the Boy Scouts of America, that just means that somebody else's (or a contribution of other people's) non-earmarked contribution will go to the organizations you specifically earmarked your donation to avoid helping fund.

I would not be the least bit surprised if this is how the NRSC's new earmark program will work -- that (in 2006 terms) somebody's $100 earmarked for, say, Rick Santorum would be balanced out by somebody's non-earmarked $100 being used to backfill the allotment for Lincoln Chafee's campaign.

Given their horrible judgment in 2006, the possibility (or "likelihood") of this policy means that folks who still care about that sort of thing might be better off sticking with direct giving, either through their preferred senatorial candidates' websites, or through third-party facilitators like Big Red Tent, RightRoots, or Slatecard.

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