By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Following up on those Senate fundraising numbers

I have figured out why there is a disparity between the U.S. Senate fundraising numbers in Brian Mooney’s Boston Globe story today and in the chart that accompanies his story. It involves the difference between itemized contributions (those of $200 or more) and non-itemized contributions. (My earlier item.)

Mooney’s story mentions it, but it’s unclear from the context what the significance is. Now I understand it, thanks to some labeling that’s been added to the chart since this morning. The Globe’s metro editor, Jen Peter, walked me through it as well.

I’ll explain this with the numbers reported for Sen. Scott Brown’s Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. Warren reported raising $5.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. That number comprises both itemized and non-itemized contributions. Mooney reported that 61.3 percent of Warren’s itemized contributions were from out of state.

Now let’s turn to the chart, to which the phrase “Itemized donations available from FEC” was appended sometime after my first post. Here we learn that Warren raised $1.2 million in itemized in-state contributions during the fourth quarter and $1.9 million in itemized out-of-state contributions. That’s a total of $3.1 million. And yes, $1.9 million is 61.3 percent of $3.1 million.

What you can’t do, as I did earlier today, is take that 61.3 percent and apply it to Warren’s $5.7 million total. That’s because $2.6 million of that total is non-itemized, and thus there’s no way of knowing how much came from out of state and how much came from Massachusetts residents.

Bottom line: Brown beat Warren in itemized, in-state contributions by a margin of $1.5 million to $1.2 million. And we just have no way of knowing with respect to non-itemized contributions of less than $200.

Both Mooney’s story and the chart are accurate, but they are reporting different facts. Mooney does not mention Brown and Warren’s itemized totals; the chart does not mention their overall totals.

Much ado about not much? Yes. But it was a puzzle, and it reached a point where I was determined to solve it. So there you go.

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  1. I still think he should have used the comparative percentages in the sentence so they would be equal terms and the reader would understand the dynamic.

  2. Dan, why are you spending (or perhaps wasting) so much time on how much money is being donated to these politicians? I can’t believe all the time it must be taking you to go through all those numbers.

    It doesn’t matter how much money these bureaucrats (or wannabe bureaucrats) receive or spend on the campaign trail. Let George Soros or some other left-winger fund Elizabeth Warren’s defeat of Scott Brown, and let Rupert Murdoch or some other “conservative” fund Scott Brown’s loss, oh well. They’re all the same, these politicians.

    Both Warren and Brown supported the Dodd-Frank atrocity, in which many new business-stifling bureaucracies were created to stifle smaller businesses and protect the established ones, further pushing back economic growth.

    And Scott Brown voted for the NDAA bill that Obama signed into law, that gives the President the power to arrest and detain indefinitely any American he chooses, without charges or even evidence to prove his accusations. Only in a banana republic can that happen. And I’m sure that Warren would have voted for it too, like most of her fellow Democrats in the Senate did.

    So, I say, who the hell cares what their fundraising numbers are. Most people don’t even know about the NDAA policy, because the hacks of the mainstream media do not inform the people of what’s really being done to their freedom.

    And I doubt that Jim and Margery will be discussing these politicians’ fundraising numbers, as they go lovey-dovey with Liz while Michael Graham and Jay Severin continue their man-crush love affair with Mr. Handsome-Face Scott Brown.

  3. Christian Avard

    Sounds like it came in under the wire and the copy editor didn’t have enough time to really read through it. How many times have been through that scenario?

  4. C.E. Stead

    FWIW, I have advocated for years for instant reporting. Why should you be able to accept ‘non-itemized’ contributions in the first place? It was different before there was on-line reporting, or before campaigns took credit cards which allow full reporting for even a $5 donation. We need transparancy, and it’s well within our reach.

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