Rule #8: Obey the Golden Rule of Politics – “Those with the most gold rule.”

by johndavis, March 27, 2013

If President Obama can legally raise “unlimited amounts of money” for an organization that is a functioning arm of his presidency, North Carolina Republican leaders can do the same. And should.

Remember, it’s a means of keeping your political organization fine-tuned while operating as an IRS approved “social welfare” (wink, wink) organization.

There is a lesson here for North Carolina Republicans; a lesson taught well over the years by Democrats. That lesson is Rule #8: Obey the Golden Rule of Politics – Those with the most gold rule.

“It turns out there is an even higher tier of donors who are granted entree to the board of directors if they raise $1 million for two consecutive years, according to a memo that describes the organization’s “finance leadership levels.”

 NY Times, 3/26/2013, regarding Pres. Obama’s new Organizing for Action “Social Welfare” organization

 

March 27, 2013        Vol. VI, No. 8            11:13 pm

It’s time we put principle aside and do what’s right!

On June 19, 2008, Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama created a firestorm among liberal campaign finance reformers by breaking his pledge to limit his campaign spending to public funds.  Obama chose to put the practical value of a campaign spending advantage over personal principle.  He knew that in order to win, he had to Obey the Golden Rule of Politics: Those with the most gold rule.

Obama’s decision to put principal aside freed him to raise an unlimited amount of money.  Republican nominee John McCain opted to shackle himself to public financing.  When the final campaign spending totals were tallied, the FEC reported that Obama had raised $745 million to McCain's $368 million.

There is a lesson here for North Carolina Republicans.

David Plouffe, campaign manager for President Obama's 2008 victory, in writing about the decision to opt out of public financing in his book The Audacity to Win, said, "Sacrificing this added cash would mean we either had to pare our list of target battlegrounds or run less rigorous campaigns in each.”

One of those target battlegrounds was North Carolina.  If Obama had put principle over money and opted out of public financing in 2008, he would not have carried North Carolina and Beverly Purdue would not have been governor.

North Carolina was Obama’s closest win (14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast).  Perdue’s win was the closest governors race in the U.S., despite her 2-to-1 spending advantage over McCrory ($14.9 million to his $6.7 million) and despite a historic Democratic turnout thanks to Obama’s state organization.

“Staying in the federal system would seriously impede our ability to mount that kind of campaign that left no stone unturned,” wrote Plouffe, “I thought if we opted out of the system, we would also enjoy a significant financial advantage over McCain.”  He was right.

In 2008, the Obama campaign raised $782 million (McCain $368 million), employed 6,000 staffers who managed 13 million volunteers.  In September alone, Obama raised $100 million online.  "There were times when we were raising $250,000, $300,000, even $500,000 an hour,” said Plouffe.

When it comes to principle versus money in politics, ignore the protests of the press and the outrage of the campaign finance reformers; put principle aside and do what’s right: raise money.

This report is the continuation of a series highlighting key rules for How the North Carolina Republican Party Can Maintain Political Power for 114 Years (like their predecessors the Democrats). The rules highlighted thus far are:

  • Rule #1: Always remember that you are vulnerable
  • Rule #2: Criminal indictments scare off contributors
  • Rule #3: Keep your voters close, and your metropolitan voters closer
  • Rule #4: Caring must be at the core of conservatism
  • Rule #5: Lose the courts, lose the war
  • Rule #6: Men do not equal a majority
  • Rule #7: Welcome young voters with “Come as you are” Open Conservatism.

Today, I am adding Rule #8: Obey the Golden Rule of Politics -“Those with the most gold rule.”

NC Republicans are only half-way to financial dominance; President Obama points the way to the other half

Thanks to excellent research and analysis of 2012 campaign finances by the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, we can now say for certain that North Carolina Republicans have learned well from Democrats and are following their precedent in valuing political financial dominance.

  • Republican Senate candidates raised about $11.3 million to only $3.7 million for Democratic Senate candidates, a 3-to-1 GOP advantage in 2012 that led to a 33 to 17 Senate majority.
  • Republican House candidates raised $12.9 million to $5.3 million for the Democrats, a 2-to-1 GOP advantage in 2012 that led to a 77 to 43 House majority.
  • Republican Gov. Pat McCrory raised $11.2 million to $4.3 million for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walter Dalton, a 2012 advantage that led to a 55% to 43% victory.

Granted, reports like these make it clear that North Carolina Republicans are well on their way to establishing political financial dominance.  However, they are only halfway there.  The other half of political financial dominance is the establishment of 501 (c) (4) “social welfare” nonprofit groups that may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advance their legislative agenda.

Once again, Republicans have an excellent model thanks to President Obama.

Obama’s campaign organization, Organizing for America, has morphed into a new advocacy machine called Organizing for Action.  OFA is run by former campaign operatives, like Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and pledges to “support the legislative agenda we voted on, train the next generation of grassroots organizers and leaders, and organize around local issues in our communities.”

Sound like something of political value to North Carolina Republicans?  Keeping your political organization fine-tuned as an IRS approved “social welfare” organization?  Training the next generation of grassroots organizers and leaders?  Unlimited shadow funding?

Raise $2 million and you can be on Obama’s board

On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, The New York Times carried a story about Organizing for Action stating, “In addition to the previously reported “board of trustees” whose members are expected to raise at least $500,000, it turns out there is an even higher tier of donors who are granted entree to the board of directors if they raise $1 million for two consecutive years, according to a memo that describes the organization’s “finance leadership levels.”

What are they going to do with all of that money?

According to Organizing for Action’s statement of purpose, they are established to:

  • “Support President Obama in achieving enactment of his national agenda.”
  • Form grassroots level chapters that will also work for “progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level.”
  • All while operating as a "social welfare" organization” under IRS Code 501(c)(4).

Fred Wertheimer, head of Democracy 21 and a leading national voice for campaign finance reform, described the OFA as “an unprecedented entity that allows individual donors and bundlers to provide unlimited amounts of money to an organization functioning as an arm of the Obama presidency.”

If President Obama can legally raise “unlimited amounts of money” for an organization that is a functioning arm of his presidency, North Carolina Republican leaders can do the same.  And should.

Remember, it’s a means of keeping your political organization fine-tuned while operating as an IRS approved “social welfare” (wink, wink) organization.

There is a lesson here for North Carolina Republicans; a lesson taught well over the years by Democrats.  That lesson is Rule #8: Obey the Golden Rule of Politics - Those with the most gold rule.

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