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Patrons have already paid up to $150 to attend, but Driscoll wants more.
"We can't lose this tremendous opportunity," Driscoll says, almost apologetically. "It's going to be very close if we don't get some more money."
Who is willing to give $1,000?
The irony is so palpable, people actually recoil. There are no takers.
Driscoll presses on. C'mon, now. An anonymous benefactor (Gary Tredway, it turns out) has offered to match every dollar pledged tonight. How about $500?
Pregnant pause. Finally, Robin Silver raises his hand.
As dollar amounts descend, more pledges trickle in. But Driscoll is still scuffling. When the figure gets to $100, Ivins, the guest of honor, chips in, no doubt out of sympathy for Driscoll.
"It's awful," Driscoll says, "that we have to raise money to get money out of politics."
And into Jim Driscoll's pocket.
Records on file at the secretary of state's office indicate that Driscoll, in his role as a fund raiser for Arizonans for Clean Elections, has been paid $22,471.
Driscoll says professional fund raising was essential to the campaign, and that during the time he was being compensated, "I stepped down from the steering committee and worked as a paid worker."
Kaia Lenhart says Driscoll resigned from the steering committee "in January or February" when he began his paid fund-raising efforts.
"Jim Driscoll has put a lot of time in over the years, in working to find the solution to money in politics," Lenhart says in a phone interview. "Quite frankly, I think it's unfair to single him out."
Lenhart might have used the occasion to hammer home a point she has preached since arriving in Arizona this summer to run the Proposition 200 campaign: that under the current system, there may be no such thing as a clean election.
Contact Jeremy Voas at his online address: email@example.com