Panhandling my way to Congress

The definition of panhandling is to to stop people on the street and ask for food or money. Due to the botched economy, we’ve had sizable job growth in the field. Apparently, communities across OH-10 including Dayton, West Carrollton and even Beavercreek have been in a big rush to make sure those of us still with jobs don’t have to look the less fortunate in the eye as they try to survive.

We’ve been brainwashed to believe that these people are either a threat to traffic safety, or poseurs trying to swindle us out of our hard-earned money.

On Thursday, Jan 19th, 2012, I tried a little experiment in Beavercreek, outside the Greentree Group. They are an IT firm that does a lot of work for the government. They like to contribute to congressional campaigns.

Let’s look at their recent donations:

  • They were Congressman Turner’s leading donors last cycle, 2010, providing him with $18,310 – that’s three times what poor Joe Roberts (Turner’s opposition) raised in total.
  • In 2010 they were also Steve Austria’s leading donors- giving $20,700.
  • In 2012, they’ve given Turner $10K (so far), they even gave Steve Austria $11,000 (he’s not running now).
  • In 2008, Turner got $19,675,
  • In 2006-  they gave Hobson $17,900

That’s over $97,585 in donations to congressional candidates alone. They also gave Senator Mike DeWine $15,700 in 2006, bringing the total to $113,285 in the last 6 years. Note, these are only where they are in the top donors- not all donations.

Don’t you wonder what Greentree Group gets in return for that money? We do pay our congressmen pretty well to begin with.

My experience panhandling outside the Greentree Group wasn’t quite the same. I documented it for you:

David Esrati for Congress OH-10 panhandling flyer - click on image to download PDF

Click on the image to download the PDF

Net result: No donations. Only three people actually stopped to talk. As we left a Beavercreek police officer was pulling up. He then followed our car, and then pulled us over on suspicion of panhandling (even though the law was only given its second reading about 10 days before and wasn’t in effect yet). He was very cordial.

Obviously, we have different standards for panhandling- it’s OK for a congressman, not OK for a guy on the street. Yes, what Turner does- if it’s legal, is ask for donations without giving anything in return.

If you think standing on the street corner is undignified for a congressman, is it better to be selling your time and attention to the highest bidder while supposedly working for us?

Here is what my first campaign piece looks like. You can click on the image at right to download a PDF. It’s not like other political handouts- it actually has information on it. It’s time we stopped talking in soundbites and started talking about the real reason our country is in trouble: that our election process has become one giant auction.

We need to take the money out of politics, and stop pretending that there is a difference between campaign fundraising and panhandling.

If you agree- please consider making a donation to my campaign so I can get to Congress to put an end to this farce. And please, share this post with your friends. If I don’t have to buy ads on TV to get the message heard- we’re one step closer to success.


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