Saturday, February 23, 2008

Brooke Shields Gave $2300 to Obama in Feb. 07: Nosey Site Lets You Track Names, $, and a Street-Level Map of Political Donors

I am not sure I am happy I stumbled on this Huffington donation list site, and feel like it is close to violating the spirit of NAACP v. Button, which said that you can join an organization without fear the government will get a membership list of your actual name.  But the obvious difference is that donating to a presidential candidate under common-cause notions of full disclosure is a public act and is disclosed. 

Well, privacy fans may not like the fact that collating that data is so easy and public.  And that it is presented via a street address map (?!) with pushpins to tell everyone where you live, how much you gave, and to whom.  You can even search by common occupations such as attorney or actor (doctors seem to like Ron Paul).  My wife, Morgan Fairchild, seems not to have contributed this year or last, joining Abe Vigoda.  Of the four Fred Thompsons who donated, sadly only one (an attorney/lobbyist from Brentwood, Tennessee) gave to Fred Thompson ($1000).  Michael Frisch, well the one who is a summer associate/student in Chicago, gave $315 to Obama early enough in the campaign (4/07) that he is not some bandwagon guy.  In that Frisch guy's 60614 zip code, $2,015,882 was given: $231,391 to Republicans, and $1,784,491 to Dems.  All duly identified, mapped and pushpinned with names and locations inside 60614. 

Cass Sunstein also gave to Obama, before moving to Harvard.  Almost all Posners gave to Dems, none of the contributors also named Richard.  Brooke Shield's L.A. zip code in Hollywood off Sunset (I assume an office, unless she has one of those dated apartments near the Armenian bakeshops) only gave a million and a half, less than by that Chicago guy's zip.  So much for Hollywood's influence.  That zip, 90046, does tilt heavily Democratic, though.  Arnold Schwarzenegger may be endorsing McCain, but Arnold is yet to be listed as having parted any Hollywood money with the man (from any zip code).  Renee Zellweger gave $4600 to Hillary, and her 90048 zip on Wilshire Blvd only gave 350K, with 295K to Dems.

The cautionary tale:  at the very least, make it geographically real when you say you gave at the office.  Smart, Brooke.  Or use a PO Box like Fred Thompson did.

The site, http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/, asks

Want to know if a celebrity is playing both sides of the fence? Whether that new guy you're seeing is actually a Republican or just dresses like one?

FundRace makes it easy to search by name or address to see which presidential candidates your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors are contributing to. Or you can see if your favorite celebrity is putting money where their mouth is.

[Alan Childress]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2008/02/nosey-site-lets.html

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