Perchik: Money is the world’s curse.

Tevye: May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover!

Fiddler on the Roof 1971

A while Back the twin city tea party hosted Pat Barron who ran as an independent for Congress back in 2010 in what was at the time the 3rd Massachusetts district. He spoke about money in politics and noted that one of the real surprises that a lot of new members of congress face is the huge demands from the party to raise funds.

He described phone banking with long lists of potential contributes and thresholds that members are expected to attain. The mental picture is something like a giant telemarketing scheme that never seems to end with members of congress a direct cog in it

So when I read this story out of New Jersey…

An Elmwood Park man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring with his brother to violate federal election law by steering $21,400 in illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.

Benedetto Bigica, 45, admitted that he worked with his brother, Joseph, of Franklin Lakes, from April 2005 to April 2008 to make the illegal contributions

…and this response from the Menendez campaign…

A spokesman for Menendez has acknowledged that the senator was the unnamed federal official cited in court papers in the case but said Menendez was a victim of Joseph Bigica’s.

“Senator Menendez’s campaign, a victim of the fraud that ensued, cooperated fully with the investigation,” Mike Soliman, Menendez’s state director and former campaign manager, said Tuesday.

…my head started to spin.

Pols like Senator Menendez routinely seek donations of large amounts of money, A businessman funnels a large amount of money to him and rather than an accomplice as a receiver of $98,000 in illegal campaign funds this makes Senator Menendez… a victim!

True it wasn’t until there was a guilty plea in this case that the Senator decided to abdicate victim status by giving the money to charity, but sometimes it takes time for victims to come forward.

What I find interesting is how little stretching of this elastic definition of “victimhood” it would take for Joseph Bigica to claim the title:

Joseph Bigica, 47, an insurance broker, was a prominent Democratic contributor who won millions of dollars in no-bid government contracts across North Jersey.

After all if the Senator is a victim for receiving tens of thousands by less that ethical means surely those millions of dollars make Mr Bigica an even bigger victim!

This story might be an alternative explanation as to why Senator Menendez abruptly left yesterday’s hurricane Sandy press conference, although it makes little sense. The press conference is about helping victims and the senator as a victim should have fit right in.

The victim status that comes from obtaining money from an illegal source also explains his silence to Kerry Picket concerning the underage Dominican Hooker Story

Two women from the Dominican Republic told The Daily Caller that Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez paid them for sex earlier this year.

In interviews, the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.

The senator’s alleged underpayment of these young ladies apparently was an effort to limit the degree of their victimhood.

Furthermore his continued silence on the matter in the face of a FBI investigation is clearly an effort by the senator to keep the embarrassment of these young ladies victim status away from the national press, or at least away from the members of the national press that finds it newsworthy.

And you thought Chivalry is dead?

Update: Chivalry or no, once Jay Leno starts joking

it’s hard to ignore it. Particular when the FBI is banging down doors:

FBI agents late Tuesday night raided the West Palm Beach business of an eye doctor suspected of providing free trips and even underage Dominican Republic prostitutes to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. — who has denied what he calls the “fallacious allegations.”

Agents gathered at the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a contributor to Menendez and other prominent politicians, to start hauling away potential evidence in several vans.

Another contributor, Don’t tell me the Senator has been victimized again!

Ok let’s start from the beginning.

After a tenacious effort on Stacy part Alyssa Milano gives Robert Stacy McCain a tweet.

Stacy being properly grateful remembers said re-tweet and in the middle of a rule five style post involving Ace chooses instead to defend her honor. At the end of an emotional day off the net I notice Stacy’s post, write a little something about honor and loyalty and bring up my own tweet from William Shatner.


Said tweet in the eyes of my sons and their college friends still producing a higher coolness factor in their eyes than 2 years on the radio and credentials for Presidential events and Scott Brown debates.

Stacy notices the post, and tweets out suggestions concerning bringing said fundraiser to a successful conclusion and said tweets end up generating his own tweet from William Shatner,


and a follow up post on the subject.

Now despite efforts from loyal readers early on (Thanks to all of you) and some pushing from Sissy Wills my fundraiser had been dead in the water for days. I’ve been wondering how I was going to pay a bill due Thursday.

When I woke up this morning on this twelfth day of Christmas with my wife at work I turned on the laptop and checked e-mail and found I had tip jar hits from Brendan, Tanjia, Two Roberts and Jeff which were enough to bring me over the top to solve my problem.

Before anything else let me thank them and all the others who kicked in to get to my $600 goal but lets look at the events one more time.

Alyssa Milano tweets Stacy, William Shatner Tweets me, Stacy put up a post defending Alyssa Milano, I post on Stacy Loyalty, Stacy notices my post, tweets out my fundraiser, Stacy is Tweeted by Shatner, Stacy posts on the Shatner Tweet, I wake up and my fundraiser is completed successfully.

Apparently without Alyssa Milano and William Shatner tweeting my friend Stacy, he doesn’t post on my fundraiser and it doesn’t end successfully, but there is one more event in this sequence I didn’t mention yet.

Although her funeral mass was yesterday, my mother died on Dec 13th. It had been a miserable Christmas for me and mine, we really didn’t celebrate and almost every family tradition from the open house on down was discarded this year and I did a horrible job of bringing the family out of a faithless funk of a Christmas Season.

I last went to confession the day before my mother died. Yesterday I finally went to confession again.

Within 24 hours of that confession Stacy Writes his post, I write mine, Shatner Tweets Stacy, Stacy Writes his follow up post and my fundraiser ends successfully.

My thanks to Stacy, Bill, Alyssa and all the tip jar hitters for their actions leading to these events, but I believe the first thanks goes to the one who provided the grace to allow these events to take place.

As a very Catholic Blogger you would think I wouldn’t need to be reminded of these things, but then again people forget that even the Pope has a confessor.

Max Bialystock: The two cardinal rules of producing. One: Never put your own money in the show.

Leo Bloom: And two?

Max Bialystock:  Never put your own money in the show!

The Producers 2005

In both versions of The Producers and in the Broadway play. Max Bialystock raises money for his plays by diving into “little old lady land”

This came to mind when I saw this story at Politico:

Amid speculation that Hillary Clinton might make a run for the presidency in 2016, her husband is taking another swing at shrinking her lingering 2008 campaign debt, which totals $73,000 as of Sept. 30.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Bill Clinton offered a chance to spend a day with him if donors chipped in to drive down his wife’s campaign debt before Dec. 6.

That Hillary might still have campaign debt 4 years after the race was not a big surprise, as the article says it was as high as 25 Million at one point, but what really struck me was the figure that is left after four years.


Now for me and you $73,000 is a lot of money.  If I had $73,000 more that I do now it would have a dramatic effect on my life and prospects, but Bill Clinton?

That thought seems to be a general theme in comments at Politico this one is typical:

$73,000??? Honestly, doesn’t Bill earn something like $100,000/speech. Maybe he could sign up for one more gig and pay the bill himself – or possibly Hillary could earn a few shekels now that she’s retiring.

That is the big difference between Bill Clinton and the fictional Max Bialystock.  Max was wearing a cardboard belt and needed to dive into little old lady land to do anything.  Bill Clinton turned his political career into a vast fortune. He could pay this debt off with no effort, his welcoming ladies young and old into presidential kneepad land is likely purely recreational. This fact obscures an overriding truth about the Bill Clinton way.

Yes it’s true Bill Clinton can retire this debt himself if he chooses to, but why would he choose to? As long as there are democrat donors willing to spend their money why would he ever think about paying this himself?

This not only makes him the perfect patron saint for the Democrat party but would make him an excellent Hollywood or Broadway producer.

I must admit I’m a bit jealous of the occupods in one respect when I see this post at Don Surber’s blog.

Somehow, they were able to spend a few months in the fall camping out and protesting against the working class while not working themselves.

They are in that upper 1% who do not have to work.

I don’t begrudge anyone what they already have, if they are rich enough to hand out then that’s fine. My jealously is based on how, well their friends on the left (and in the unions until the useful idiots were no longer useful) managed to kick in to keep them in tents, food and protests for two months. The tens of thousands of dollars that occupy New York, Occupy Oakland and occupy Portland (before their 20 grand was stolen) came from somewhere.

The left makes an effort to keep those who fight their battles supplied and ready to fight. On the right it is a bit leaner. Consider when New York Magazine mentioned Mitt Romney raised over 10 million in under 8 hours what Stacy McCain wrote:

we are struck by the sharp contrast between how George Soros employs his wealth — to build a media infrastructure for advancing his broad political agenda — and how wealthy Republicans spend their own money: To advance the narrow personal ambition of Mitt Romney.

Why are rich Republicans so clueless? They are shoveling money at a candidate who suffers tepid support among the GOP grassroots and is therefore unlikely to win the nomination.

And lets remember when Jimmie Bise crunched the numbers further based on not even Mitt’s 10.3 million or Herman Cain’s 7 million sitting in the bank but on Charlie Crist’s 4.3 million dollar quarter from 2010:

Do you know how much good reporting we could get with a budget of just $500,000 a year? Think about it. Play with the numbers. You think I couldn’t land Vadum and McCain for 70 grand a year, plus add in Ace and Moe Lane for blogging power at the same amount? That’s only $280,000. Set aside fifty grand for tech stuff (hosting, design, troubleshooting) and advertising, another 60K for expenses (to pay reporters to go on the road and for freelancers), 60K for an editor, and 50K to me for supervising the whole operation and there you go. There’s $500,000 a year. And that doesn’t count any potential income the site might get from outside advertising, which you know it’ll get. As the site grows, the budget can creep up, but only for people who will add direct value to the site, but we add on as advertising revenues warrant the increase.

Think of a major league team building a farm system and look at the long terms from those numbers as Jimmie Does

Divide $500,000 into $4.3 million. That’s how long I could run a hypothetical conservative news site with the money dunderheaded conservatives gave Charlie Crist in just three months. Meanwhile, Stacy had to rattle the tip jar so hard his teeth ached to get just a few hundred bucks to do some original reporting in rural Kentucky. That’s ridiculous.

No what’s ridiculous is what happened a few days ago. Before the blogger conference call with Rick Santorum Friday Stacy McCain suggested I should make a point to record the call so I can use clips on the radio show. I replied I don’t have the necessary equipment for my line. He mentioned it is available at any Radio Shack for $50-75 bucks and I was forced to reply that I don’t have the $50-75 to spend for it.

The left is funding it’s occupods and its new media to the point where TPM is getting question time on GOP candidates conference calls. Meanwhile forget the $70K in Jimmie’s example. Since June I covered the St. Anselm debate in NH, the Dartmouth debate from the spin room, reported live from blogcon including reports on the occupods, Covered Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum in NH, Barney Frank’s press conference and teaparty and GOP events and more. Yet although the radioshow is managing to cover its expenses the results of my November fundraiser were so dismal that I’ve closed out my 401k (tax hit not withstanding) to keep up with the house bills for the next several months.

Forget the 70K that Jimmie was talking, for 70% of that I could not only support the blog and the house but travel to cover the candidates without wondering if Freedomworks can help with the cost of a plane ticket. For 40% of that I could support the blog and house for a year and still cover events in a 150 mile radius without help and with the 10K that Mitt is willing to bet that pays for 3 months and 300 posts not counting the Under the Fedora Column at the Minority report and the Conservatory.

It’s a frustrating thing. In 2011 so far over 560,000 visits have been recorded on this site and the old. There has been a lot of words both written and quoted in support of conservatism, here on the blog, elsewhere on the net and even a piece than ran in the New York Post during Weinergate. How much is that worth to the conservative movement? How much is a radio show that reaches six states featuring and highlighting conservative writers from all over the nation? You would think it would be worth at least as much to the conservative movement as the occupods are to Soros and the left.

Yet, as a conservative I understand that my work is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. It doesn’t matter if I drive north to check out the Gingrich Huntsman debate today, the question is. What is that growing set of eyeballs on the blogs and ears on the radio worth to the conservative movement?

I submit that it’s certainly worth the $200 a week I need to pay the house bills, or the $500 a week that can support the blog for a year. In fact I’d dare to say it’s worth the $800 a week it would take to finance 6 trips a year to cover big events.

And I’m just one blogger, there are at least a dozen other bloggers on the right worth at least as much if not more. Stacy again:

For the $4 million that the permatanned RINO Charlie Crist collected during that single three-month span of 2009, you could fund eight spiffy little New Media operations for a year (or four such operations for two years). And FEC contribution limits do not apply to people making “investments” in news operations, so that the rich Republicans would not be restricted in their generosity toward New Media, as they are toward political candidates.

Soros has figured this out. Rich Republicans have not.

As I’ve said before my advertisers are looking for a return on their investment and that what they should be looking for, but if you are looking to advance the conservative cause in both the short term (an election cycle) and in the long term (to get the word out there and change minds) I suggest that if you are a conservative this site and sites like it are an investment in changing the narrative or as Stacy put it:

Does it not occur to you, my clever readers, that these are not merely business losses, but are in fact a sort of charitable endeavor to support the propagation of fashionable liberalism?

There are an awful lot of us working very hard to advance conservatism, I suggest it’s made a difference. If that’s not worth conservative support and conservative dollars I’d like to know what is?

Update: How Ironic is it that this post gets an Instalanche while I’m up at St. Anselm College covering the Gingrich Huntsman debate

The stage just before the debate

(photos, video and interviews to be up soon)

Update 2: Apparently I was up too soon after being sick and crashed in the middle of writing my Newt & Huntsman post. But if those who hit DaTipJar yesterday want to know what they paid for here is my coverage.

I’ll have the Huntsman event up later today.

Update 3: Boy I really struck a nerve in Kim Du Toit from comments:

DTguy: this is the actual reason I quit. I worked over ten hours a day, every single damn day, on my blog, which garnered tens of thousands of unique views daily. Everyone praised me and told how great a blog it was, right up to the time I would need money to pay the bills. Then I’d publish a bleg and get more angry comments about “sponging” than I got contributions, like my own time, hundreds of hours per week, was just… worthless.

It’s not just me. For some reason, conservatives think that media sponsorship is beneath them–why else do you think that even worthy organizations like National Review and Patriot Post have to grovel for money all the time? If they’re struggling, what chance do individuals like you (or me, for that matter) stand?

Read the whole comment.

Update 4: Now a Memeorandum thread and linked by Atlas, the Lonely Conservative, the western experience and Goldfish and Clowns

Update 5: Ladd Ehlinger weighs in:

Conservative donors would rather donate to celebrities like Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee, or presidential candidates they’d prefer to see win – without recognizing how much “oomph” a particular blogger or other might give to that candidate’s efforts.

Through all of this, one has to wonder why Mike Huckabee needs a PAC. Or Karl Rove. What exactly are these PACs doing? Are they “winning” anything? Or are they simply churning donor money for the aggrandizement of the celebrity?

Soros and his ilk fund Media Matters, Think Progress, et. al. Conservatives toss their money into landfills.

And for those who may be tempted to jump into the comments and screech about the Koch Brothers, as far as I can tell, their pattern of funding is the same as all the other conservatives. I may be wrong, but the impression I get is, when they’re not funding NPR documentaries on string-theory, the Kochs are tossing their cash into the celebrity landfill, too.

There are lame excuses but this one from the Romney Camp concerning fundraising takes the cake

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing a new challenge: He’s having trouble raising money from some Jewish donors who mistakenly believe one of his opponents, Michele Bachmann, is Jewish.

Some Jewish donors are telling fund-raisers for Romney, a Mormon, that while they like him, they’d rather open their wallets for the “Jewish candidate,” who they don’t realize is actually a Lutheran, The Post has learned.

“It’s a real problem,” one Romney fund-raiser said. “We’re working very hard in the Jewish community because of Obama’s Israel problem. This was surprising.”

While it’s very possible, maybe even probable that the average potential Romney donor is not reading Robert Stacy McCain and missed Mrs. Bachmann’s Christian Testimony I’ll wager they are familiar enough with the MSM to have heard the “Lunatic Christian” meme played in print or television media.

So assuming this is spin, (and lets be frank, every statement from every campaign has some degree of spin in it) why play this card? Ann Althouse has a thought:

What might have motivated the Romney people to get the idea out there that Barbara Bachmann is really Jewish? It could be to generate unease among voters who have some anti-Semitism.Think of the rumor that Barack Obama is really Muslim. The Romney people should not want people to think they meant to ignite that kind of suspicion about Bachmann. Oddly, Romney himself has to deal with the antagonism toward his religion — the religion he actually follows. You’d think his campaign folk would be more sensitive. It’s almost as if they’re trying to generate a rumor that Bachmann’s not Christian at all to deal with his problem with some people thinking Mormons aren’t Christian enough (or at all).

Interesting theory but I’m thinking something different.

I’m thinking Gov Romney got a lot of initial funds from maxed out establishment types early and is having trouble keeping the funds flowing now that the “He is the only one who can beat Obama” myth has been shattered.

Professor Althouse’s suspicions may or may not have some merit but the problem with not having a campaign supported by the grass roots is eventually the still available big money looks for the best possible investment (i.e. The winning side). I suspect that Romney needs to explain his lack of new funds without accelerating a stampede of donors elsewhere.

Or to put it another way. If you can’t get results then next best thing is a marketable excuse.

Mazal Tov!

Update: Several readers and friends insist this is a real issue. Then again a lot of people think I’m jewish too. (In fact I was asked it today)