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Monthly giving to the Dems

Today's New York Times reports,

A number of Democratic presidential candidates have started monthly contribution plans as part of their Internet fund-raising strategies, attracting donations that while modest $10 or $50 are given repeatedly.

"It's the same theory that goes behind the late-night infomercials," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that analyzes campaign finance. "Buy the abs machine for $29.99 for six months! It's much easier to do that than to say that the machine will cost you $180. That is just part of marketing."

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These subscription plans are partly a result of supporters' requests, but they fit into a Democratic Party effort to build a base of small regular donors to match the one that the Republicans have accumulated over the years.

They also reflect evolving fund-raising strategies in response to the new campaign finance regulations, currently under review by the Supreme Court, that have put the emphasis on "hard money," or individual contributions that are capped at $2,000. Only the first $250 of an individual donation is matched by federal funds.