With the rise of super PACs, big-dollar donors and celebrity and Wall Street fundraisers, the 2012 presidential campaign is the most cash-driven in history. On Wednesday Hank Brown, a former U.S. senator from Colorado and a Romney backer, called the amount of money in politics a "national scandal."
On a conference call sponsored by the Republican National Committee, Brown at first criticized President Obama for attending a fundraiser today in Denver, but when asked about team Romney's fundraising in his state, including a $500 a plate event that Ann Romney held last Friday, also in Denver, Brown said the "explosion in campaign donations was a tragedy."
Mitt Romney spent the past three days raising money in Connecticut and New York, and according to his National Finance Chairman Spencer Zwick, the campaign was expected to bring in $15 million, up from the original estimate of $10 million. The campaign earned $5 million at a Tuesday evening fundraiser in New York City alone, and at least $3 million in one day in Connecticut.
"If you look at historic records, the amount of money we're looking at is astronomical," Brown told reporters on the call. "And I think part of the reason is not that political leaders are that much more charming these days than they used to be. The reason is government has expanded so much that many people have come to believe their economic success in this world is dependent on government. … But the explosion in campaign donations is a tragedy because it reflects the fact that people feel they have to donate to survive economically. That's really not what you want America to be all about. "
The conference call was intended to focus on education, not campaign fundraising, to coincide with Obama's commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Wednesday. Brown took the opportunity to blast the president for rising college tuition costs, and the college graduates now struggling to find jobs in the current economy.