Today (9/25) I got into a higher than room temperature discussion with another politician about not encouraging monetary donations.
I have self-funded my four political campaigns for several reasons:
1. I want to remain as independent as I am able. I think this is especially important for an auditor. This does not mean that I think those that take donations cannot be independent, but humans being humans, it is just easier to remain independent if you self-fund.
2. I want control of my campaign. I do not want to spend an inordinate amount of time seeking donations and not being able to control my campaign because I'm waiting for the next donation to come in. Running as a third party candidate in the previous three election cycles, if I were to depend on donations I would be lucky to afford the sticks to which my non-existent signs would be attached. It is really tough to run as a third party candidate! To increase our political choice, this must change. But that's another rant.
3. Look at most of the established (elected) politicians' financial reports. I know for a fact that some politicians use NONE of their own money on their campaigns yet have enough to run a credible campaign and get elected. Yes, I know that's the way it's done and if that is how a politician wants to run his/her campaign then good for them, but, to me, (and this is going to make some enemies) there just seems something unseemly in not throwing in a reasonable financial investment in to one's own campaign. After all, is not politics supposed to be public service and not a career? Yes, I know that is not the way it is, just, IMHO, the way it should be. Of course if the office you are running for requires millions to mount a credible campaign then unless you are wealthy there is no way you can self-fund and you will have to depend on others of like mind. Fortunately I do not aspire to such lofty political heights.
Back to the heated discussion. My political friend's stance was that accepting donations enable others to get involved in your campaign because they have some skin in the game. My stance was/is that I believe it is far more helpful, rather than accept cash, to suggest that calling family, friends, and neighbors and championing my campaign and handing out flyers and going door to door, etc. As I have stated before and so as not to discourage an individual's involvement in my campaign, I will take but I will not solicit campaign funds from individuals (never PACs, lobbyists, companies or political parties). If an individual wishes to contribute only monetarily then I will graciously accept the donation and let them know for which advertising campaign it will be spent.
I hope, finally, that clears the air. It is easier to just say I don't accept monetary donations but if it helps you to feel like part of my campaign then I will accept and spend your financial donation on a good cause, my getting elected.
Thank you for bearing with my long winded explanation regarding how I wish to deal with campaign contributions.