Obama fundraising too large to handle for FEC, media

It seems as though the Federal Election Committee, the media, and other organizations are having a bear of a time digging through and processing the massive fundraising reports submitted by the Obama and Clinton campaigns, well, mostly the Obama campaign.

The report from the Politico:

The record-shattering fundraising by Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has reshaped the financing of presidential elections and generated breathless coverage and analysis of the otherwise arcane area of campaign finance.

Yet it’s had another consequence that has gone all but unnoticed. The campaign finance reports filed by Obama and Clinton have grown so massive that they’ve strained the capacity of the Federal Election Commission, good government groups, the media and even software applications to process and make sense of the data.

A milestone of sorts was reached earlier this year, when Obama, the Illinois senator whose revolutionary online fundraising has overwhelmed Clinton, filed an electronic fundraising report so large it could not be processed by popular basic spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel 2003 and Lotus 1-2-3.

Those programs can’t download data files with more than 65,536 rows or 256 columns.

Obama’s January fundraising report, detailing the $23 million he raised and $41 million he spent in the last three months of 2007, far exceeded 65,536 rows listing contributions, refunds, expenditures, debts, reimbursements and other details. It was the first report to confound basic database programs since 2001, when the Federal Election Commission began directly posting candidates’ fundraising reports online in an effort to make political money more accessible and transparent to voters.

Unfortunately for McCain, I’m sure his fundraising reports fit well within the 65,536 rows alloted by Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3. I’m guessing the people at the FEC play rock-paper-scissors over who has to examine Obama’s records.

  • Babs

    This report reminds me of Obama’s first success as a Politician. He hired a friend to filter through and verify ALL signatures on other opponants petitions, and they eventually knocked every single one of them out of the race on technicalities so that he won unopposed. Makes you wonder what lesson he may have learned from that. Put enough paper in the report, and no one will notice it doesn’t add up or where it came from. 🙂

  • Well technically this problem is due to the massive amount of donors Obama has. Running the numbers from OpenSecrets.org, he’s got a total of over 124,253 donors from the last reports.

    There doesn’t appear to be any impropriety, just amounts of data never before seen in a Presidential campaign couple with new campaign finance laws.

    McCain, on the other hand, has only 51,38 donors so far according to Open Secrets.

  • Babs

    Yes, Nate, I know, the thought wasn’t really connected to anything devious. I went there one day to see if I could find out what Axelrod was getting paid, and there were tons of pages of expenses laid out. They were all haphazard, though, with payroll tax deposits thrown in with the office supplies, general expenses, and salaries. I guess that’s the way it’s input into the system for viewing, but it makes it very difficult to actually get any specific info. You have to just keep scrolling through hundreds of pages. I did notice, though, that all the people with at least a 4 figure paycheck every week were from Chicago. With the scuttlebutt on the web about the Chicago Political Machine that some think is driving Obama’s campaign, it struck me that maybe that was where some of the rumors were getting their momentum.

    By the way, Axlerod gets paid very well for his lip service. 😉

  • Whobody

    Conspiracies abound!

    Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems


    We dont need biggie smalls and mase lyrics on here Whobody, much rather have some metallica instead, thank you.

  • Dreadsen

    Who is “We”?

  • Whobody

    Here’s your Metallica speaking on the atrocity of war:

    Soldier boy, made of clay
    now an empty shell
    twenty one, only son
    but he served us well
    Bred to kill, not to care
    just do as we say
    finished here, Greeting Death
    he’s yours to take away

    Back to the front
    you will do what I say, when I say
    Back to the front
    you will die when I say, you must die
    Back to the front
    you coward
    you servant
    you blindman

    I’ll let you know if they play Disposable Heroes when I see them in two weeks.

    Music can be like politics – if you broaden your horizon you’ll be able to see alot better.

  • Babs

    Not very respectful of soldiers, are they? “Bred to kill, not to care”, “you coward, you servant, you blindman”. If you’re paying for a ticket to hear someone say that about american soldiers…..well.

  • Whobody

    Babs – Don’t for a second suggest that I don’t respect American soldiers because I know the lyrics to a Metallica song. Get off your high-horse. And technically I’m seeing a festival where there will be over 200 acts, so their only getting a fraction of my ticket price and attention.

    I picked that song b/c I thought it would be a little eye-opening for O_S to get what he asked for. I didn’t write the lyrics or use them to define any of my thoughts. I merely suggested he read them.

    Art is not always respectful, Babs. Some statements and images don’t bow at your alter of politically correct pandering.

  • Babs

    Wow, didn’t know I had an alter, Whobody, or a high horse. As far as politically correct pandering goes, those lyics have nothing to do with being or not being politically correct. They have everything to do with dissing good soldiers. And I’ll get on a high horse against that any day.

    I never suggested you don’t respect American soldiers. But from up here on my high horse alter, you can bet I wouldn’t attend any function where that sentiment might be spoken, sung, or chanted. But then, I threw away my Dixie Chick CDs, too, so I’m just one of those people who don’t care about “art” that’s not respectful, or the “artist”. Just because there’s garbage in the street don’t mean I’m going to eat it. Don’t expect an apology for it, I’m not offering one.