Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Republican Alfredo Alves of Fall River, Mass., who is gay, contributed $250 to Rep. Barney Frank’s 1996 campaign, because the Massachusetts Democrat is an “excellent politician” and an outspoken supporter of gay rights. Alves was unhappy, though, when he learned from Mother Jones that Frank gave $7,250 of his campaign money to eight other Democrats — all of whom supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of gay marriage.

Frank says party leaders urged Democrats to share their campaign money with struggling candidates when it looked like the Democrats could regain a House majority. “When the question of control of the House was not an issue,” Frank says, “I used a finer screening process.”

That’s not good enough for Alves. “It’s not fair for a candidate to take money from citizens and give it to other candidates with different views,” he says. “It’s violating the intent of my contribution.”

Single-issue contributors, beware: In the world of campaign finance, candidates share the kitty with other candidates. Last year, $3.7 million passed between congressional candidates. Democrats gave $1.8 million and Republicans $1.9 million — all to members of their own party, but often to members with very different opinions:

Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), who introduced a “human life amendment” to ban abortions except to save the mother’s life, took $1,500 from the National Right to Life Committee but gave $7,000 to seven Democrats who opposed the late-term abortion ban (which Clinton vetoed).

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who vociferously opposed the minimum wage hike, received $4,000 from the like-minded National Federation of Independent Business, but gave $5,000 to two Republicans who supported the increase.

Recently retired Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), a welfare supporter who told the New York Times in 1995 that Congress was “celebrat[ing] Christmas by trashing poor people,” used $6,500 of his leftover campaign money to support six Democrats, all of whom backed the controversial welfare reform bill. The biggest chunk — $2,000 — went to Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, who succeeded Simon as senator.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate