Recommended Reading

The greedy truth about media consultants—You may have to watch an ad to read it, but it’s worth it. Here’s a bit:

Psst! You with your checkbook in one hand and a political fundraising letter in the other. Are you sure you're being shrewd instead of being screwed when you send your money to this particular campaign?

…When the White House or control of Congress is at stake, a political campaign should be more than an income-transfer program from contributors to consultants. But, in a sense, that is precisely what happened during the John Kerry campaign. As outlined in Joe Klein's new book, "Politics Lost," Shrum and his firm ended up receiving between 4.5 percent and roughly 6 percent of the money Kerry spent on TV ads from the end of the primaries until Election Day. While precise figures are unavailable, it is a conservative guess that Shrum and his partners made more than $6 million (plus reimbursement for production costs) from the effort to oust George W. Bush from the White House.

Do you know what it takes to raise $6 million in politics? Picture a political gala in the largest hotel ballroom in the country -- an event so crammed with tables that there is risk of a fire hazard, with everyone in the room giving the maximum legal contribution ($2,000 in 2004). Now imagine the outrage if everyone at that dinner had been told that their money was not going to elect John Kerry president, but to pay the fees of his media consulting firm.
ARGH. The good news is that some Dems are beginning to wise up and require flat-fee agreements with media consultants. Nonetheless, go read then come back and discuss…

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