Economic crisis hitting political fundraising, too

The current recession is wrapping its tightfisted hands around its latest victim: political fundraising.

The price for top-flight donors to attend one of the California Democratic Party's biggest annual fundraisers – a May weekend of golf at Pebble Beach – has been slashed by $10,000 from a year ago.

One of California's political movers and shakers, the 76-year-old California Retailers Association, last week decided to simply turn off the donation spigot for the "foreseeable future."

The California Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, says small contributions to its political action committee have plummeted by 20 percent in recent months.

"Everyone, from what I am seeing and hearing, is going to be cutting back this year," said Rob Lapsley, the political director for the chamber.

The same pillars of the national economy that have either fallen or cracked – the home-building, construction and financial industries – have long been the foundation of political fundraising. Their difficulties are now beginning to affect the balance sheets of campaign committees.

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