After watching Bill Moyers’ recent episode, Dark Money in Politics, I was intrigued to find out how much money has been raised/spent in the local Clark County, Washington political scene. Enter the Public Disclosure Commission’s handy-dandy website that lets you follow the entire state of Washington’s trail of money raised/spent for every race from governor and senators to county commissioners and judicial representatives.
Because I was curious in the County Commissioner race between Mark Boldt and David Madore, I was able to learn that Madore has raised $38,792.42 and spent $22,087.16. Of the $38,792.42 raised, $30,000 came from personal funds, $2,750 cash contributions, and $5,242.09 in-kind contributions.
Boldt has raised $16,660.00 and spent $1,242.48. The breakdown for Boldt is awesome. Of the $16,660.00 raised, $19,065.00 came from cash contributions. You read that correct. He has received contributions from Pacific Lifestyle Homes, Nutter Corporation, Waste Connections, and a large group of individuals.
This leads to the question that I have: Is it better to fund an election with your own money if you have the means or with the collective donations of a community?
Public access to records is a beautiful perk of citizenship. It helps people know if candidates are being bought, attempting to buy an election with their own personal funds, the role of political action committees and super PACs in a particular race, and most importantly, allows people like you and me to regulate the influence of money in politics.