Presidential Campaigns in High Gear ... to Meet Increasing Demands of Big Donors

Thursday, October 01, 2015
(photo: Thomas Trutschel, Photothek/Getty Images; photo illustration: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Political donors nearly always want something in return for their contributions. And as donations have increased, so has the need for campaigns to respond quickly to donors’ needs.


Sometimes that need involves offering advice to a candidate. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who until recently was seeking the Republican nomination for president, received tips along with donations from bundler Julian H. Gingold, a New York wealth manager. Gingold, according to The New York Times, made suggestions on how to criticize Donald Trump and talk about Chinese currency manipulation and free trade issues at the GOP debate.


Theresa Kostrzewa, a Republican lobbyist and donor based in North Carolina, who is supporting former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, told the Times’ Ashley Parker: “Donors are demanding a lot these days, man, and they want answers and they want results, and a lot of them hit the panic button a lot.”


“This is a new day. Donors consider a contribution like, ‘Well, wait, I just invested in you. Now I need to have my say; you need to answer to me,’” she added.


Some campaigns have responded to this by designating a point person to deal with big-money donors. “If they wanted to talk to me for an hour, I’d talk to them for an hour,” Austin Barbour, formerly with a Super PAC supporting Rick Perry and now working for Bush, told the Times. “They were the ones who were funding what we were doing, so goodness gracious, the least thing I could do is answer whatever questions they had.”


Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign even has a password-protected app it gives out to donors that provides the candidate’s schedule and other information, including talking points.

-Steve Straehley, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Big Donors Seek Larger Roles in Presidential Campaigns (by Ashley Parker, New York Times)

Campaign Donors 4 Times more Likely to Gain a Meeting with Member of Congress than Non-Donating Constituent (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Obama Outdoes Previous Presidents in Appointing Campaign Donors to Ambassadorships (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


Leave a comment