Show me the money!

Thursday is the deadline when officials (and candidates for higher office) must file their 3rd Qtr Campaign Finance Report .

For most of the state (the 99.9% that is known as “folks in the real world”), this day will come and go (as it should) with no real drama. For the other .1% (politicos, competing candidates, bloggers and other reporters) it actually is given WAY too much significance.

A few blogs have already reported (with some bias, of course) their candidate’s or an opponent’s filings. For those that may not know where to go to see the reports….. here it is .

Of course, remember….money isn’t everything in politics but the general consensus seems to be “if you got it, you flaunt it. If you don’t, you spin it” It’s like throwing out a big drive in golf and saying “come get me”.

Speaking of big drives, who knew an inappropriate “shout out” could drive up donations to the tune of $4,000,000+ for opposing candidates? Pure gold, folks. Go figure.

A word of caution to those who think money means victory though….the saying in golf goes “Drive for show but putt for dough”. When we get closer to primaries and elections, it’s what you do with the money that matters. How you finish, in other words.

Consultants can blow through money (aka “burn rate”) with effective measures or sometimes less-effective ways. Many a candidate has been outspent 10:1 and still scored a victory when it mattered – on Election Day.

What will we see this year on the state and local levels?

Oh..and how could I not mention my bill that’s sitting in committee: Campaign Finance Reform? Just a common-sense approach to shed light on the “dead period” right before election dates and to mandate local officials/candidates for school board, county and city races to disclose on-line like the rest of us. (As the law stands now, those officials/candidates aren’t required to file on-line and no statewide or House/Senate candidate has to disclose anything received the last few weeks before the election.)

I’ve already heard the excuses for wanting the “dead period” to stay intact. (“Strategy” was one word I heard…seriously). I hope the bill can get out of Judiciary committee when we return in January WITHOUT being watered down to still conceal late contributions and spending right before the election.

Think about it, why should money given or spent two weeks before the election not be disclosed until AFTER the election is over? Even the national candidates don’t have this “blackout period”. The General Assembly made strides last year with On-The-Record Voting , let’s take even more steps by disclosing ALL our finances…not just the early money.