Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rufus the Hipster Dufus and the Donation Deadline

I received this fundraising email today from Rufus, purportedly fundraising director for Organizing for America.
Friend --

I'm the national finance director here at OFA.

I know we've been sending you a lot of email lately. That's because we're staring down a critical fundraising deadline tomorrow at midnight.

You know what that means for your inbox, but let me give you a sense of what that looks like around here.

The staff and I are working around the clock, powered by too much coffee. It's been way too long since we called our moms. And we've all had more pizza and bad takeout in the past few weeks than anyone should have in a year.

No one's complaining; that's what we signed up for. And we're not doing this just because it's our job to make sure the campaign has the resources it needs. We're doing this because it's part of what defines this movement.

From the beginning, we've refused to take money from D.C. lobbyists and corporate special interests. Our operation is fueled by people inspiring each other to take ownership of this campaign.

That's why we've been emailing this week, and that's why I'm obligated to remind you once more that the deadline is coming up in a matter of hours.

If you're able to, will you chip in just $3 today?

For all of us here at HQ, and all of the staff and volunteers across the country counting on these resources, I really appreciate your help.


So why the fake deadline and the continued spam bombarding my inbox, to which Rufus freely admits? He freely admits there is a deadline, but just doesn't tell us what is the nature of the deadline. Turns out, it is the end of quarter reporting required by the FEC and the campaign wants to make a big show of all the little donations to Obama. So they are basically bribing people with a lottery to donate so the campaign looks like a "grassroots" movement. Professor Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection nails it:
But it does seem desperate, bring as many people in for $5 then spin the results even if the dollars are below expectations. An alternative theory being advanced is that Obama has done so well with big donors, the campaign is afraid of the image.
Later Jacobsen warns people that the raffle price will drop to $3, so don't go for the $5 ticket.
The $5 doesn’t go to the government to help pay down debt, it goes to Obama’s campaign. It’s a way to gin up the “small donor” and total donor numbers, and as before, it comes just before the end of a quarterly reporting period.

But I have a warning to those considering paying $5 for the chance.

Hold out until the final days.

And you will get it for $3. Plus a Slurpee.

But back to Rufus, note as well the whole breathless, were just a bunch of college hipster dufuses partying for Obama. Didn't call his mommy? Too much pizza? Oh my. Is there a computer program that generates these things to appear to be from a certain, shall we say demographic. (No offense, Dean to your blog's title.) I was looking for a picture of Rufus, but this will have to do.

No wait, here is the actual picture, and a little information about our intrepid fundraiser.

Banker's son mines gold for Obama

CHICAGO - By his own account, Rufus Gifford’s early life was everything you would expect of the son of a patrician New England banker. Privileged North Shore upbringing. Elite schools. In the summer, tennis on Nantucket.

But things shifted for the third child of Chad Gifford, who ran some of Boston’s biggest financial institutions, after Father’s Day weekend in 1993, when his family discovered he was gay. Rufus Gifford says now that coming out to his parents allowed him to pursue a less traditional path, launching him toward California and ensuring that he would never wear the starched shirts and gray business suits of his father.

. . .

Now he spends much of his time in a Chicago office tower, home to Obama campaign headquarters. The president’s reelection hinges in substantial part on Gifford’s ability to persuade a big slice of American industry - from Wall Street’s players to Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs - to pour as much as $1 billion into the coffers for what is expected to be the most expensive campaign in history. Obama set the record in 2008 when he raised $745 million.

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