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What is a Money Bomb?

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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Image By: City Of Boston Archives
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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The term "money bomb" was coined to describe a political fundraiser, generally a one-day event, organized by grassroots campaign supporters. It is seen as somewhat of a slang term but certainly not one that holds no interest. One aspect of the money bomb is that it works as a vehicle by which those who favor a particular candidate can show support and help encourage campaign contributions. Unlike a typical fundraising event, a money bomb is intended to break records, to get attention.

The idea came about during the 2008 presidential election season when supporters believed that Ron Paul, a ten-term Republican Congressman running for president, was being either marginalized or ignored by the media. They believed that a record-breaking fundraising event would garner media attention. How could news outlets ignore such a feat and retain any credibility in their election coverage?

The first money bomb raised over 4 million dollars in twenty-four hours, through small, individual donations, most of which were collected online. The event occurred on November 5, which is known in England as Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes was a revolutionary who plotted against what he believed to be an overreaching government. While the Ron Paul Revolution sought non-violent change, the Guy Fawkes symbolism was incorporated into the event as was imagery from the movie, "V for Vendetta," reminiscent of the Fawkes’ story.

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The first money bomb was so successful that supporters decided to continue, holding another money bomb which commemorated the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Not coincidentally, the Boston Tea Party was another act by the people in retaliation against government. That event raised over 6 million US Dollars (USD), setting yet another fundraising record and giving the candidate over 10 million USD of the 12 million goal set for the fourth quarter. The campaign ended the year reporting nearly 20 million USD for the quarter, well over the stated goal.

The significance of the dates of these money bomb events may offer some insight into why the term money bomb was chosen by those who organized the fundraisers. The Money Bomb is the title of a book, written by James Gibb Stuart. The book was written to detail financial policy, and sound monetary policy also happens to be one of the big issues in Ron Paul’s platform. Rumor has it that the book was banned in the United Kingdom shortly after it came out but it is now available online.

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