Money Trail Opener

Chronology: Money In Politics

Coffee With The President

Where The Money Was Spent

Was There A Payback?

The Investigations

The White House Defense

Does Everybody Do It?

Running For Dollars

Campaign Law Loopholes

Campaign Sweets

An Experiment In Cincinnati

Is Money Speech?

Poll: Most Say Clinton Acted Illegally Or Unethically

Roadblocks To Reform

Key Terms

Index of VXtreme Video-On-Demand

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Let's Go To The Videotape (TIME, 10/13/97)

Campaign-Finance Fight Cools Friendships (CQ, 9/29/97)

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The Money Trail: Democracy For Sale

Running For The Money

By Bruce Morton/CNN


WASHINGTON (Oct. 7) -- Politicians don't like talking about fund-raising. They're reluctant to say how much time it takes, and how much money they need. But they know they have to do it.

Here's how California Sen. Barbara Boxer made her pitch at a recent fund-raiser: "I am here to tell you that without you there is no way this dream could have come true. Thank you. Thank you."

In 1992, Boxer spent about $10 million. This time, she thinks she'll need $20 million.

"If I started raising money the minute I had gotten elected and raised it every day for six years, I would have to raise $10,000 a day," Boxer said. "And, of course, for the first two years I didn't want to think about it, I was so burned out from the first time, so I did nothing. Now all of a sudden it was in the middle of the third year, they said, well it is up to $33,000 a day, seven days a week."

Parts of it, she says, are sweet -- the handwritten letter with the five-dollar bill enclosed. There are the button and bumper sticker sales, the T-shirts and of course, boxer shorts. Then there's the heavy lifting on the phone.

"The part that is really, really awful is when you call people who you really don't know because someone said that this person might help," Boxer said. "And you say, 'Hi, this is Senator Boxer.' And there is sort of a dead silence for a moment, and they say, 'Oh, oh, yes.' And the next thing is, 'I hate to ask you this, but I'm in a tough race.' You know, it just is that part I really don't like. I don't want to say hate it. It's beyond hate. It's a numbness almost at this stage."


California is a big state and expensive. One of her opponents is a millionaire. Maybe the House is easier? Maybe not.

Said GOP Rep. J.D. Hayworth, "I'd much rather spend a lot more time at home with my wife and kids, but fund-raising has become an essential part of our system."

Hayworth spent $1.5 million last time, the thirty-third most expensive of the 435 House races. That's because he had two opponents: a Democratic candidate and organized labor.

"One of the races that the unions and the left were most determined to win was J.D.'s election right here," House Speaker Newt Gingrich noted, at a recent fund-raiser for Hayworth.

The unions attacked with TV ads claiming Hayworth wanted to cut Medicare. "J.D. Hayworth. He and Newt Gingrich want to cut Medicaid $270 billion," one ad said.


Hayworth won comfortably in 1994, but by fewer than 3,000 votes in 1996.

Said Hayworth, "Television time, radio time, literature that you print up, it's all expensive." At $150-a-plate, the Gingrich event raised about $40,000, about 1 percent of what Hayworth needs.

He's for reform.

"The Washington union bosses demand that rank and file pay extra dues, and have a portion of those dues given to political candidates and causes with whom the rank and file may disagree," Hayworth said.

And he'd do something about those labor ads. Boxer is for reform too.

"Where that person buys all the time on the air and is pounding me day after day, a year and a half outside my election, day after day, what about my speech? My speech is smothered," she said.

They are both for reforms, but they have very different ideas of what shape reform should take. Meanwhile, they raise money, every day.

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