Tag Archives: Campaign finance

Stupid System

Christian Fong’s campaign for governor sent out a news release today trumpeting that the Cedar Rapids Republican raked in $100,000 in campaign donations in the three weeks since he jumped into the race.

Swell. Then I sent a reply to Victory Enterprise’s Brian Dumas, who sent the release, asking  if he has a  list of donors and donations. He replied:

We do, but we will file when required by law and at that time you’ll be able to review the disclosure and see the numbers are accurate.

Unfortunately, the time required by law is Jan. 19, 2010. So trumpet in July, check back in January.

Of course, it goes without saying, that the real story is exactly who gave to Fong and how much they gave.  And, obviously, 1,000 $100 donations would say one thing about Fong’s campaign and four $25,000 donors would tell an entirely different story.

Instead, we get a big number and some happy talk about how Fong’s campaign is off and running.

To be fair, Fong’s campaign is simply playing a time-honored game, by the rules as written. But I say it’s the rules need changing.

Every time I hear people talk about complex campaign finance reforms and tight limits and public financing, I roll my eyes. All I want is a system where candidates, especially statewide candidates,  are required to report often. Once a month. Maybe once a week.

Why should a half-dozen-and-growing field of GOP gubernatorial hopefuls, and Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, be able to shake the money tree all through 2009 and not report a dime until 2010? They shouldn’t.

Paid for by Ranting Hacks for Openness.

Fong’s release is below:

Fong Raises $100,000 in three weeks.

For Immediate Release: July 21, 2009 Contact: Marlys Popma 515-238-6564

(Cedar Rapids, IA) The campaign of Cedar Rapids businessman Christian Fong (R) announced today it had crossed the $100,000 mark in financial contributions. Fong launched his campaign three weeks ago.

“Despite an economic recession and a multi-candidate field, Christian has surpassed his initial targets in regards to fundraising. The $100,000 number is not commitments or pledges, but checks that have been written. Christian’s vision of restoring the Iowa Dream is being well received and Republicans are responding,” said Marlys Popma, Fong campaign manager.

Popma continued, “Considering Christian entered this race with no donor base, crossing this early threshold is a clear indicator that the campaign is off and running. We know we have a long way to go to reach our internal primary fundraising goals, but our quick start is extremely encouraging.”

Christian Fong graduated from Underwood High School in Southwest Iowa at the age of 16 and then attended Creighton University, graduating at age 19. After college, he and his wife, Jenelle, located in Cedar Rapids and Christian started work at AEGON. Fong put his career on hold to attend Dartmouth, earning his MBA. He and his family returned to Cedar Rapids, where they reside today and attend River of Life Ministries church. When the floods of 2008 hit Cedar Rapids, Fong founded and still serves today as the CEO of Corridor Recovery, a non-profit flood relief organization that coordinated recovery efforts. The Fongs have three children.

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