Political beg-a-thon intensifies as 2013 draws to a close

WASHINGTON - Between the federal government shutdown and the poor rollout of the Affordable Care Act, politicians from both parties ended the year with plenty of egg on their faces. That hasn't stopped them from using the final hours of 2013 to beg their supporters for one last contribution.

"I know today is New Years Eve -- but we really need to hit this final [Federal Election Commission] goal of the year. If you can, contribute $5 or more right now," went one such appeal that went out from Democrat Al Franken's U.S. Senate campaign. Franken is up for re-election next year and has one of the most aggressive online donation programs of Minnesota politicians.

"We need your help to make sure Al Franken doesn't buy another term in the US Senate," went the most recent email from one of Franken's Republican challengers, Mike McFadden.

Campaigns for federal office must report their fourth quarter 2013 fundraising figures by Jan. 15. The deadline to disclose fundraising for state offices is Jan. 31.

In the arena of online political fundraising, there's always some reason to convince supporters to cough up another few dollars. After a conservative group announced a major ad campaign directed against 8th District DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan,  Nolan's campaign was quick to respond with a series of fundraising emails.

"As we speak one of these shady Super PACs has launched a deceitful, negative ad campaign against me worth $225,000. It's not even an election year yet!", read Nolan's email.

As befits messages designed to inflame passions and encourage supporters to pull out their credit cards, the language can sometimes be a bit overheated, as with Nolan's GOP challenger, Stewart Mills.

"The attacks on our freedom and our liberty by Barack Obama and his buddy Rick Nolan will not be shoved down our throats," read a Dec. 26 message from Mills's campaign.

Non-profits of all stripes are also filling inboxes with fundraising appeals today but contributions to those organizations are tax-deductible whereas political donations to federal political campaigns aren't. Those who give to state candidates and parties can get a tax rebate of up to  $50 for an individual or $100 per couple.

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