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"Most of the people who give money in politics are not giving because they have a warm and fuzzy feeling about democracy," said Kiely. "It is because they would like to exercise some influence."
Many of the groups hosting Hatch events have interests in tax policy or health reform, issues over which Hatch has significant influence through the Finance Committee, where he is the top Republican.
Giving right before an election is also a way to get noticed. Hatch is facing his first primary since his 1976 race, and he has a huge financial advantage over his GOP challenger Dan Liljenquist. The most recent financial report, due shortly before the state convention in April, showed Hatch with $3.2 million in the bank compared with Liljenquist’s $240,000.
Hansen, Hatch’s campaign manager, said the senator doesn’t need the haul from these late fundraisers to pay his staff or air TV ads. And he’ll likely have enough money to fuel a general election campaign, if he survives the primary.
Instead, Hansen said the events are shoehorned into Hatch’s Senate schedule because they were easy opportunities to raise funds.
"Have you ever heard anyone in a campaign say they have enough money?" Hansen asks rhetorically. "So if we have the opportunity to hold a fundraiser, we will."
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