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Caleb Burns Discusses the Sale of Donor Lists by Political Campaigns

Roll Call
October 18, 2011

Election Law & Government Ethics Practice partner Caleb Burns commented in a recent article on political campaigns that rent or sell their donor lists. As the article reports, more than 90 campaigns, political action committees and parties have sold their donors’ contact information as a way to raise millions of additional dollars. “These lists are the biggest assets of any campaign,” Mr. Burns said. “If you think about campaigns, they are largely ephemeral,” he noted.  Some privacy advocates have objected to the practice claiming it’s a violation of donors’ privacy, and there are some lawmakers who have decided not to rent their donor lists. “I know a fair number of candidates who don’t rent out their lists because they don’t want their donors tapped into and otherwise cannibalized by other political campaigns,” Mr. Burns said.