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Associations Feeling the Pinch

September 30th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Today is the last day in the quarter for politicians to collect checks and report how much money they have raised over the last three months. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, some of the traditional givers to campaigns are feeling the pinch, which is putting the pressure on.

By noon Wednesday, four statewide candidates were peppering email inboxes with last minute fund-raising appeals. The midnight deadline says one. Just 12 hours left says another.

But some of the traditional money is harder to come by. Membership in the Florida Homebuilders Association has decreased. Across town, the Florida Retail Federation has seen several thousand members disappear.

Almost all of that is the small businesses that weve lost,” Rick McAllister, with the Florida Retail Federation said. “When push comes to shove, when its keeping an employee or not, or pay an association bill, theyre going to keep their employee.

The Federations attorney even told the PSC the dwindling numbers were another reason not to hike electric rates.

It would put potential upward pressure on our prices,” attorney Schef Wright said.

The federation wouldnt say if it has cut political contributions, but

These have been very difficult times and all of us have tightened our belts,” McAllister said.

and Its not just the special interests.

Common Cause closed its decades-old Tallahassee office in March, the victim of a slump in fund-raising.

Ben Wilcox lost his paying job but still volunteers for Common Cause.

We help to keep politicians honest and accountable, so its important to keep organizations like that strong,” Wilcox said.

Despite the downturn, millions in campaign contributions will still be reported this quarter. But some of them were harder to come by.

Campaign Finance reports are due in about 10 days. Once submitted, voters will be able to see who is giving, and how much they are giving.

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