I woke up this morning to a flurry of posts on facebook referring to an article about the financing of an Indianapolis School Board campaign, and the contributions its candidates have received. Of particular note and interest (to me anyway), is that I am called out by name in the article under the section detailing the campaign contributions to one Kelly Bentley, who is running to represent District 3 on local school board. The exact line is
“New York based Stephen Suess gave her $2500.”
Ah yes. It makes it sound like an evil out-of-state billionaire reaches his dirty, powerful fingers across the country to control local school boards and ultimately corrupt the youth of this great country. Who knows what nefarious plans this wealthy patron has or what bidding the local school board will have to do to accommodate the influence he has purchased.
Except, I never gave $2500. Kelly is my sister, and I built a campaign website for her. She wanted to pay me, but I said no, she could just consider it my contribution to her campaign. At which point she asked me how much the site would have cost and I pulled a normal sum out of my head for a similar sized project. And I guess they (properly) reported that on their filings as an in-kind contribution to her campaign, at which point the self-styled muckraker who wrote the article started licking her chops, and dusted off her keyboard for this hard-hitting expose of the dirty influence of money in politics.
My point is that outside of context these (and most other) things are meaningless. Someone had a tiny, pre-formed angle that they wanted the “facts” to support, whether or not they had any relevance to the point, which is supposedly about the corrupting influence of money in politics. It sounds really juicy then to mention an out-of-state benefactor, until you realize that no money was given and the candidate is my sister who needed a simple campaign website.