March 29, 2005

Focus turns to finances in Moline mayoral race

(my apologies for these posts being a bit late. Earlier today Blogger made it literally impossible to post stories, and I had other pressing matters to attend to this evening)

Moline mayoral candidate Pat O'Brien's latest campaign finance report shows that he's raised $52,156. His opponent Don Welvaert reports having raised $20,267, less than 40% of O'Brien's total.

These reports are never current, and only reflect the amounts at the time the report was filed. But these numbers are now being seized on by the Welvaert campaign to attack O'Brien.

It appears that the Welvaert campaign, far outdone on fund-raising, has decided to try to turn that fact into a liability for O'Brien.

O'Brien's donations from PACs and organizations outside the area are being pointed to as somehow being a negative for his campaign. As a matter of fact, it's "scary" to Welvaert.
"There is always the fear with outside interests about what they want in return. In this case, the outside interests are outside of Moline. That is the scary part," Mr. Welvaert said.
Welvaert's "citizens" group has decided to spend some campaign funds on a mailing today which hits a new low for the campaign. "Are Pat O'Brien and outside, special interest groups trying to buy Moline's Mayoral Election?" the mailing asks, "YOU BET THEY ARE!" it answers.

On the reverse is copy designed to look as though it was taken from a newspaper article, complete with dateline, and headline reading "O'Brien being bought by outside, special interests".
Dimmer citizens (of which there are thousands) would think this was a reproduction of an actual article.

Welvaert's campaign by contrast seems as if it felt it didn't need any money from anyone other than from the "Committee for Better City Government", a group which the Dispatch/Argus describes as "a nonpartisan group of people who live or work in Moline and support various local candidates."

This of course is so much PR happy talk, as it is primarily composed of prominent Republican businessmen.

But Welvaert now seems to be suggesting that he didn't put much priority on fund-raising outside of his wealthy "citizens" group and had a decidedly unagressive approach to fund-raising.
Mr. Welvaert said most of his campaign funds are not solicited. "They are coming voluntarily from people who are calling me up, asking how the campaign finances are going, then offering to send money," he said.
At least 2/3 of the Dispatch article dwells on O'Brien and the sources of his contributions. This shows that the folks behind Welvaert were successful in spinning the paper into reporting this from the viewpoint that there was actually some wrong-doing involved, which of course, there is not.

Article here.


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