The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

04 June 2007

Al Franken Senate Fundraising, Huffington Post


Short Of Funds, Franken Begs, Demands Federal Help

When all else fails, Al Franken can always count on pal Arianna Huffington to come to his rescue, it appears. But should the government also be expected to help?

With fundraising falling short of incumbent Senator Norm Coleman's (R-MN) totals, Franken is out of inner- city charities and money- losing radio networks to strip clean. And from that unpleasant scenario comes today's urgent Huffington Post plea: send money now!

But what is the monetary value of such a direct in- kind contribution from a website operator to a US Senate candidate? Should it be declared in his FEC paperwork?

(That's quite different, by the way, from a talk host declaring support for a ballot initiative on the air.)

And will his opponents, including several running against him in the DFL (Minnesota Democrat) primary, get the same opportunity? Don't hold your breath.

If that was the extent of the issue, we might not spend time covering it here, but Stuart certainly didn't stop there. Because he's having so much trouble raising money, he now wants public financing of campaigns! Starting with his, of course.

He wants you to stuff his coffers, the same way taxpayer money meant for the Boys & Girls Club wound up covering Air America Radio's payroll expenses:

While I'm sitting there with Kris, I often think about how badly we need public financing of elections in this country. We need it because I should be out talking to Minnesotans about the issues that matter to their families. We need it so that I can spend my days meeting with policy experts and reading up on legislation and working with progressives all over the state to build a movement that can take on Norm Coleman next fall.

And we need it because members of Congress are too beholden to special interests, and that costs taxpayers, big time. The Medicare Part D prescription drug bill, which might be the most corrupt piece of legislation in history, was a huge giveaway of taxpayer funds to the big pharmaceutical companies. The 2005 energy bill handed billions of dollars of our money to big oil companies, essentially just for the hell of it.

Did the Republican majority pass those bills out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course not. They passed them because they rely on huge PAC checks from these big corporate interests to fund television commercials calling Democrats "big spenders."

Let me select a totally random example: Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman (R-PHARMA). In the first fundraising quarter this year, he raised around $1.5 million. About a third of that came from PACs -- tobacco, coal, insurance, etc. Over the course of his career, he's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Oil and Big Pharma. And, of course, he voted in favor of that horrible drug bill and that horrible energy bill.

I'm doing things a little differently. In my first fundraising quarter (which was really only 45 days since I announced on February 14), I raised around $1.35 million. But instead of relying on PACs, I relied mostly on small contributions from over 10,000 donors (over 90 percent of whom gave less than $100), more than twice as many as Coleman. (I should point out that you can help, too, by clicking here. See, I'm learning!)

Particularly pathetic is Franken's griping about the amount of time he must spend each day on fundraising. What did he think he'd be doing, relaxing on the beach?

Here's a funny comment from "robhunt", a HuffPo poster:

Why should you be able to use MY money to get yourself elected? Why don't you spend some of the money you got for telling everybody that Rush is fat? Why don't you spend some of the Gloria Wise money you've got kicking around?

You've had a national platform from which to stump for three years. If you're having trouble raising money now, it's because people don't like your ideas (or your person.) One of those ideas people don't like is your desire to use taxpayers money for your personal ends.

June 04, 2007 at 03:26am AM EDT

The truth is that after his lazy days at Air America, where he billed the company for lunch tabs and collected a fat salary, Franken is finally forced to put real effort into something and doesn't like it. Even the books were mostly written by Team Franken, made up of young Harvard grads.

If he can't handle the fundraising calls, how will he fare during ultra- boring Senate proceedings? Be careful what you wish for, Al, you just might get it.

Stuart For Senate: David A Lunde, Frankengolf guy: Pete at IHillary

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  • Franken short of funds

    Already? Oh, this is so sweet!

    I live in Minnesota and I have not heard a peep from this looser. I wonder where he spent his Boys and Girls Club money so far. He seems to have a unique talent to suck blood money from others, then squander it and disappear from the scene.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 04 June, 2007 23:58  

  • You know, public funding of elections is the only way to get out of the morass of corruption we've found our way into.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 05 June, 2007 01:33  

  • Benson,

    Stuart Smalley has spent time writing letters to the Editor at the DUBUQUE, IOWA, Telegraph-Herald. He's campaigning in Iowa like he thinks Iowans will vote for him in Minnesota.

    Metro, public financing is the cry from fringe candidates who can't raise money and also from politicians who can't move up from their current elected office because THEY ARE FOOLS, and the public is rejecting them.

    Franken is a failure. Get used to it.

    By Blogger PCD, at 05 June, 2007 10:59  

  • public financing is the cry from fringe candidates who can't raise money

    So you prefer the candidate with the most money? Why do you hate democracy? This is what you expect from our election system? Candidates with the money should be the only one's in the race? Again, I do not think you hate this country, I know you hate this country. This is an issue the left and right agree on, public funding of elections... PCD, is obviously not in favor of democracy but rather a Corporatist. Let me guess PCD, eliminae the FDA, EPa and all regulatory agencies as well. Let big business decide everything.
    Again PCD, you lost site on what it means to be an American, and now gravitate to a radical ideology beyond neo-conservatism, you are more radical than the neo-cons, you are a corporatist.

    if you are not a millionaire, you are one of the dumbest bastards to breathe the same air as me

    pcd: I do not want candidates with a platform, their money is all that matters.

    absolutly pathetic. Look what talk radio did to you PCD, you are now a traitor to your own country, and American values.
    As far as Franken, your a loser not Franken. When you write your best seller... come back to me. Franken will not win Minnosota, but he is far from a loser, the loser would be the sucker who hates his own country and his country's values.... That would be you.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 05 June, 2007 11:25  

  • Forget Franken for a moment: His basic point has a point. I've also been involved in political campaigns, and it's ridiculous how much time candidates have to spend on the phone asking for cash. It's time that should be spent talking to prospective voters and learning issues more in-depth.
    Not sure public funding is the best answer, but Franken is right that the system is broken.

    By Blogger Justin, at 05 June, 2007 11:26  

  • Justin
    not according to rocket scientist PCD, he thinks fundraising is more important and those who would rather have a platform are losers!!

    I suppose PCD bases his vote on who raised the most money. PCD do you burn the flag on your lawn? You seriously hate America

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 05 June, 2007 12:25  

  • The system is not broken, and is in fact working fine. We do not need public funding because the taxpayer shouldn't be FORCED to pay for people campaigning.

    If you have the money, run. If you don't have the money, then lose.

    By Blogger Yomi Mizuhara, at 05 June, 2007 17:31  

  • "If you have the money, run. If you don't have the money, then lose."

    This isn't Japan, where money is seen as a sign of political worthiness, and the zaibatsu control everything.

    This is America. Whether or not you have money is not to determine your political worthiness as a candidate.

    It's precisely these bizarre ultra-corporatist notions we intend to run right out of Washington.

    If public campaign financing proves to be the most efficient way to do this, than so be it.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 05 June, 2007 18:02  

  • MoPoop, metro, and Hash,

    You idiots do not want to admit that candidates who can't raise money from the people aren't what the people want for representation.

    I can tell that the three of you couldn't win even the office of roadkill scooper in a one person race.

    By Blogger PCD, at 06 June, 2007 08:11  

  • Pay back what you've stolen, PCD.

    I know that if you give me what I want, I'LL certainly go away...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 06 June, 2007 09:03  

  • Retard posted:You idiots do not want to admit that candidates who can't raise money from the people aren't what the people want for representation.

    No idiot, the candiadtes with the most money are the most exposed candidates, the public does not know who the lesser candidates are due to their lack of money therefore the people vote based on the frontrunners with the most money......

    If there was an equal playing field you can bet the front runners would be differenct candidates..... On both sides....

    You hate democracy, hate free elections , your fuc*ing filth who values money over ideas, SCUM

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 06 June, 2007 11:01  

  • Lets have some honesty in reporting here. Franken out-raised Coleman for the second quarter in a row. See

    By Blogger jkerrane, at 10 October, 2007 15:53  

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