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The RNC Small Donor Look Up Tool: Gimmick or Great?

A new online donation-tracking tool on the RNC website has people making wagers as to its effectiveness. The simple setup is supposed to track small donors, any amount up to $200. With controversy over the provenance of some of Obama's small donations, the tool appears to be pointed right at that. But is it a great addition to transparency, or a campaign gimmick?


A spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics gives it a mixed review. "As a transparency tool it is pretty dull. As a political tactic it is a bit sharper because the other side has done nothing of the sort and has not even responded to watchdog calls to say more about their small donors." Though the piece nods that "it's a step beyond what the Obama camp has been willing to do," (a campaign whose average contribution is $86) it continues, blasting the tool saying, "By putting out something so incomplete and, in the end, relatively useless, they have undercut their own criticisms of Barack Obama.

It is very simple and doesn't allow for searching by location or workplace, key details the GOP have access to and important if you have a common name. There are other tools out there that allow for that, Fundrace, and OpenSecrets. Though I will say the RNC tool is the only one that accurately returned results on my donations. So what do you think?

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