Following the Money
A couple of weeks ago, Saint Paul at Fraters Libertas wrote a now famous post on Al Franken’s FEC report, exposing the Ben Stein’s and Barbara Bosson’s among Al's big money contributors. He suggested that I do the same with Norm Coleman’s FEC report. Thanks a lot, Saint Paul. Not only is Norm’s report about five times longer than Franken’s, finding a celebrity among Norm’s contributors is about as easy as finding a parking spot at the Star Tribune.
Sure, there are a few contributions from local stars, like Joe Soucheray’s radio producer, Matthew “The Rookie” Michalski ($200) and $1000 from former Gopher football coach Glen Mason (if Norm has a big lead going into the final quarter of the campaign, I hope he gives Coach Mason a wide berth). But there are no actor/salad dressing magnates or sitcom writer wives anywhere to be found.
Not to say that there are no recognizable names. For example, Norm received $250 from Michael Bolton. But since this Michael Bolton is from Minneapolis, he is probably neither the singer nor the guy from Office Space. Another recognizable name is U.S. Attorney Rachel Palouse, who kicked $1500 into Normie’s coffers (no one tell Nick Coleman).
Another well-represented group is local sports team owners. Twins owner Carl Pohlad ($4000), Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor ($2000), Wild Co-Owner, Jac Sperling ($2000), and former Vikings owner B. J. “Red” McCombs ($2100). Conspicuously absent is the current owner of the Vikings (and the Star Tribune parking lots) Zygi Wilf – Zygmunt contributed $2000 to Paul Wellstone in 2002.
If celebrities don’t give to Norm, who does? Many of his contributions seem to come from average Minnesotans, like Apple Valley homemaker Loree Hinderaker ($1000). Coleman received about 8% of his individual contributions from homemakers to about 5.5% for Franken. The table below shows the percentage of individual contributions each candidate has received from selected occupations.
Source: FEC reports for Franken and Coleman. NOTE: The FEC reports seem to have duplicate entries and occasionally missing occupation information. I did not attempt to correct for this, so the numbers in the table should be considered approximate.
As expected, Franken nearly doubles Coleman’s percentage when it comes to contributions from attorneys. The retired, however, prefer Norm (must be the Medicare drug benefit). Educators and Students overwhelmingly support Franken, probably because of their more casual attitude towards illegal drug use. The big surprise is the Clergy. Although Coleman is supposedly a tool of the evil religious right, only Franken has received contributions from clergy.
We already know that Franken crushes Coleman when it comes to squeezing money out of show people, but the extent of the rout is surprising. They make up more than a quarter of Franken’s individual contributions and less than 1% of Coleman’s. The most common explanation for this is that Franken shares the far-left politics that are typical of the Hollywood elite. I have a different theory – they know that if Franken is busy raising our taxes in Washington, he won’t be harming their industry by writing lousy movies like The Coneheads, One More Saturday Night, When A Man Loves A Woman, or Stuart Saves His Family. Seriously, has anyone in the history of cinema written or co-written four worse movies (movies that were actually released in theaters, excluding porn). I think not, but if you have a counter-example, please leave it in the comments.