Week 9 – The Role Of Money In Elections

Historically, political campaigns (elections or advocacy) have been financed primarily through large-ish donations from a small number of people. How are digital technologies changing this equation? How much do these campaigns cost (budgets)? And what is the role of money in election campaigns.

  • Discussion leaders:
  • Money and Politics
  • General Discussion
  • Project Time (remember blog posts need a class category and categories in side navigation)
  • Updated gradesheet

Campaign Finance Not On Our Radar

How Does Campaign Finance Reform Work?

Mitt Romney on Campaign $ in 1994
(candidate for U.S. Senate)

John Edwards on Campaign $ in 2006
(candidate for presidency)

Ever Try To Give $2 to a Candidate Online?

Money, Politics & Post-Election Transition + Cool New Tools

Important campaign finance vocabulary:

  • Soft Money – given to party for party-building
  • Hard Money – given directly to candidate for election
  • Independent expenditure – unlimited funds; cannot coordinate
  • Disclosure – reporting
  • Contribution – money given (limited for individuals)
  • PAC – political action committee

“Transparency” means … what in this context?

  1. Transparency: OpenCongress.org, OpenSenate, OpenHouse, Change.org
  2. My Political Notebook, Head-to-Head Voting Comparison (Obama-Clinton, 110th Congress)
  3. Sunlight Foundation on Transparency, Letter to Obama Administration
  4. GovTrack.us
  5. Governance & Privacy

Turning to the transition …

New Tools & Sites:

In Small Groups:

  • Post-election website: BarackBook
  • Just $6 (small group analysis – plus/minuses/suggestions – make a comment on this blog post)
  • See ChangeCongress survey on public financing:
    “This isn’t a gimmick – the whole team, including Lawrence Lessig and Joe Trippi, will be reading through every single response during the first week of December. Your ideas and comments will guide us as we put together next year’s plan.”
  • Civics Quiz (troubling?)


(1) Developments In Campaign Finance: Choosing The President in 2008
(Berkeley, long)

(2) Campaign Finance Reform W/Charlie Rose

(3) On Another Note …. Did You Know?
Thinking differently about the Digital Divide

(4) Change The Web 2009

Leave a comment


  1. rebekahp

     /  November 25, 2008

    I would like to know how much money they have already raised and what their goal is. How do I know this org actually works?

    What exactly am I signing up for when I give them my email address? Future solicitations? I don’t want to give my email to just anyone.

    Facebook Application

    Quick Polls

    Images on Blog

    Videos (posted on YouTube-set up a profile)


    Host a contest for best video made by users explaining their cause.

    The website seems very static.

  2. ijp

     /  November 25, 2008

    Just $6

    -want to know who is behind the website
    – put link to bio of chairs on names
    – make purpose of website clearer faster
    – bullet point main ideas behind public financing
    – they want private contributions so private contributions aren’t necessary?
    – donate button bigger
    – blog organization – categories, tags and other side bar navigation links

  3. That the $6 would be used to publicly finance campaigns is unclear.

    The most recent video in the media section is from 2006.

    More graphics on the front page.

    Makes it easy to contact members of congress.

    The answer to why public funding, is two clicks into the site (after the splash page, three). It should probably be on the first page.

    No social media integration.

  4. Garrett

     /  November 25, 2008

    Chris C. and Garrett G.

    -Make pull-down buttons (sub-headers) more apparent, social networking connections.

    -Good on simplicity/intuitive navigation.

    -Media room was exceptional.

    -Good use of RSS feeds, but not easy to discern on podcast.

  5. rebekahp

     /  November 25, 2008

    Rebekah and Tharaa worked together.

  6. webberm

     /  November 25, 2008

    RSS should be clearly linked on top of every page or at least on top of the home page and the blog/podcasts page.

    The tabs should have a drop down menu instead of opening in a new window.

  7. Rubi

     /  November 25, 2008

    Plus: Well designed
    Minus: Take Action and Donate tabs are kind of the same meaning
    Comments: Add other languages, explain why $6

  8. christyluther

     /  November 25, 2008

    Upon reviewing the Web site http://www.just6dollars.org, we found some pros and cons to the site. The movement is a good idea for society and the site is clean and easy to navigate. It is also easy for visitors to take action and contact their senators through the Web site.

    That said, the site could use some improvements including a more clear definition of the organization’s goals. Viewers may ask, “Who are Americans for Campaign reform? How do we know they are trustworthy?” The site could also provide more information about public funding in order to educate the public. The site seems to be designed for insiders rather than new-recruits or lay people. In addition, the site creators may benefit from utilizing social media to help spread their message. They could also provide more press links in the media section to help legitimize the site’s mission.

    Christy & Jody


What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s