For Politics' Repeat Givers, Donating Is Like Therapy

Tuesday, 02 Aug 2011 11:44 AM

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Buried among the thousands of dollars sent to candidates by high rollers is a group of dedicated supporters who repeatedly send in small amounts to candidates, almost as a form of therapy.

An examination of campaign finance reports finds more than 1,300 people who donated five times or more in the second quarter, The Washington Post reports.

Michael Schulze, 57, a software engineer from Hartford, Conn., reads the news and then sends money to GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann.

“It’s a means of expressing my frustration with the news of the day,” Schulze told the Post. “I get some satisfaction from fighting back against what I think are wrong policies.”

Brian Beverly, 26, a telecommunications engineer in Broomfield, Colo., has sent more than $3,000 to President Barack Obama’s campaign in amounts as small as $5, sometimes from his iPhone.

“It’s just my way of balancing karma in the universe,” he said.

While the paper identified some 1,300 people who gave five or more times to presidential candidates in the second quarter, there could be many more. To turn up on campaign disclosure forms, a person must hit a $200 threshold.

The disclosure reports show that seven donors gave more than 30 times in the quarter. One donor sent three donations to Bachmann and 11 to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The phenomenon was first identified in the 2008 Democratic primaries when reports showed 10,000 donors who gave to Obama more than 20 times.

Technology, such as online donating, email solicitation, and smartphones has made it easier.

“With everything else online, there’s a lot of impulse to a donation,” Peter Daou, a digital media strategist and Internet director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, said. “You’re able to take action on an impulse more quickly, so it’s much more likely that you’ll do it.”

So far, Obama leads the pack with 1,074 repeat givers followed by Bachmann at 110 and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, with 100, according to the Post.

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