FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
RNC Unveils new searchable database.
Obama campaign clutches precious, precious donor list tightly to its chest.
It’s still pretty simple, but it’s also pretty straightforward. From the press release:
The Republican National Committee (RNC) today launched a new Web site, “RNCDonors.com.” Through a searchable database, un-itemized RNC donors – those who contributed less than $200 to the RNC from the time Sen. John McCain became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee – will be made public.
“Sen. Obama talks a lot about openness and transparency, but Republicans walk the walk. Here we have another example of Obama’s rhetoric in no way matching his record,” RNC Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan said. “When will Barack Obama stand up and follow through on his rhetoric? When will he stop talking about leadership and exhibit it?”
Short answer: never.
Jake Tapper sums up the disparity thus:
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.
Jake goes on to note that he hasn’t heard a good reason for the refusal of disclosure. Ben Smith actually has one – assuming, of course, that you can subsume “cynical” into “good:”
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. Also, it would be an enormous amount of work to vet 3 million names, though that does sort of beg the question.
The Democrats, of course, are counting on this being a stellar year anyway for them in Congress, which is why they haven’t raised a stink about this: it remains to be seen whether the Obama campaign realizes that or not. They’re not exactly team players over there, are they? – At any rate, kudos for the RNC for doing what it can to keep donations transparent – and why not show your appreciation a little more directly? Donate here.