Superdelegates for sale?

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics released a report Thursday documenting massive pay to “superdelegates” (members of Congress, state governors and Democrat Party leaders) by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also apparently united in not giving their own campaigns any of their own personal funds.  In short, buying “supers” with other people’s money.
A list of funds provided to superdelegates by the candidates and posted online shows no Oklahoma elected officials received money to date.  Interesting oddities on the list includes some officials getting the majority of funds from one then endorsing the other candidate.  Famous Democrats on the list include Sen. Diane Feinstein (CA), Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) who gathered a $4,200 contribution from her own presidential campaign.  Sen. Obama distributed the greatest amount ($694,226) to the greatest number of people 101 when compared to Sen. Clinton’s total ($195,500) given to 33 officials.

In the Center of Responsive Politics’ newsletter, Capital Eye, Lindsay Renick Mayer wrote, “If neither candidate can earn the support of at least 2,025 delegates in the primary voting process, the decision of who will represent the Democrats in November’s presidential election will fall not to the will of the people but to these "superdelegates"—the candidates’ friends, colleagues and even financial beneficiaries. Both contenders will be calling in favors.
“Obama, who narrowly leads in the count of pledged, "non-super" delegates, has doled out more than $694,000 to superdelegates from his political action committee, Hope Fund, or campaign committee since 2005. Of the 81 elected officials who had announced as of Feb. 12 that their superdelegate votes would go to the Illinois senator, 34, or 40 percent of this group, have received campaign contributions from him in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles, totaling $228,000. In addition, Obama has been endorsed by 52 superdelegates who haven’t held elected office recently and, therefore, didn’t receive campaign contributions from him.
“Clinton does not appear to have been as openhanded. Her PAC, HILLPAC, and campaign committee appear to have distributed $195,500 to superdelegates. Only 12 percent of her elected superdelegates, or 13 of 109 who have said they will back her, have received campaign contributions, totaling about $95,000 since 2005. An additional 128 unelected superdelegates support Clinton, according to a blog tracking superdelegates and their endorsements, 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

“Because superdelegates will make up around 20 percent of 4,000 delegates to the Democratic convention in August–Republicans don’t have superdelegates—Clinton and Obama are aggressively wooing the more than 400 superdelegates who haven’t yet made up their minds. Since 2005 Obama has given 52 of the undecided superdelegates a total of at least $363,900, while Clinton has given a total of $88,000 to 15 of them. Anticipating that their intense competition for votes in state primaries and caucuses will result in a near-tie going into the nominating convention, the two candidates are making personal calls to superdelegates now, or are recruiting other big names to do so on their behalf. With no specific rules about what can and can’t be done to court these delegates, just about anything goes," Mayer wrote.

To read the full report, click here.

To see Clinton’s sources of funds, click here.

To see Barack Obama’s sources of funds, click here.