Letter: Campaign finance reports insightful in mayoral race

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Editor,

One way of understanding how a candidate for office is likely to govern if elected, is to take a look at who is funding their campaign. Just in time for this November’s elections, we have new campaign finance reports from both the Sue Finkam and Miles Nelson camps. In looking at both reports, I believe we can draw some interesting conclusions.

First, I looked at the Finkam report. Sue’s report shows that about 54 percent of her fundraising in the period came from corporations, PACs and other special interests. If the next largest two dozen individual donors are included, it would appear that the total dollars represented eclipse 70 percent. Large contributors included the state party, law firms, developers and other entities who stand to profit from city contracts.

Next, I looked at the Nelson report. Miles’ report shows that about 22 percent of dollars came from unions, PACs and corporations. The report shows more than 750 donors, with many small dollar contributions. The largest contributor to the campaign appears to be the regional council of carpenters, followed by the Better Indiana PAC and a philanthropist.

It occurs to me that there is a stark contrast between the funders of these two campaigns. The Nelson campaign is financially supported by hundreds of our Carmel neighbors, while Finkam has a lot of special interests to answer to, many of which have a vested interest in making money by dealing with the city. One question I pondered was the ability for each campaign to reduce city expenses and manage solely in the best interests of citizens given the donor bases, and I do believe the answer is not the same for each candidate.

As we look towards the future of Carmel, we must decide who we want to be – a city for everyone, or a city for the connected few. I know these reports were insightful for me, and hopefully you’ll take interest before casting your vote this November.

Ryan Pfenninger, Carmel


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