Bernie Sanders’s Success in Attracting Small Donors Tests Importance of ‘Super PACs’

 To fund his presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders has relied on tens of thousands of donors whose average gift is $31.30. Credit Cheryl Senter/Associated Press
To fund his presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders has relied on tens of thousands of donors whose average gift is $31.30. Credit Cheryl Senter/Associated Press

By Eric Lichtblau

WASHINGTON — Donna Mae Litowitz, a Miami Beach retiree, likes Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont so much that three months ago she sent his presidential campaign $10,000. His campaign sent back all but $2,700 because it was more than he was allowed to take under federal election law, but she wishes he had kept it all.

“I like what Sanders stands for, and he says what needs to be said,” said Ms. Litowitz, who gave money in 2008 to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. “And I don’t like Hillary Clinton.”

In an election dominated by million-dollar donations to “super PACs,” Ms. Litowitz qualifies in Mr. Sanders’s insurgent campaign as a big donor. Unlike almost all of the other major Democratic and Republican candidates this year, Mr. Sanders has refused to accept support from super PACs, relying instead on supporters like Ms. Litowitz as well as tens of thousands of small donors giving as little as $5 or $10.

The average donation, according to campaign officials, is $31.30.

Read more at The New York Times

2 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders’s Success in Attracting Small Donors Tests Importance of ‘Super PACs’

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      I certainly agree that we have to get the influence of dark money out of campaign finance. But I think its important not to overestimate the power of money to influence the electorate.

      As NBC reported in 2012, Karl Rove’s PAC American Crossroads spent over $100 million dollars on Republican campaign attack ads in the 2012 election cycle–and Republicans lost virtually every one of those races.

      The American Crossroads debacle was only the most dramatic example of the limits of big money in this election, according to the Sunlight Foundation report. About $1.3 billion was spent by outside groups overall — about two-thirds on the Republican side — and for the most part their returns were equally low. The Chamber of Commerce, for example, spent $31 million-and had a 5 percent return, according to the Sunlight study. The conservative American Future Fund spent $23.9 million and also realized a 5 percent return. The National Rifle Association spent $11 million, and got shut out.

      Like

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