Web users fault Bush on donor list

By Thomas Ferraro, Reuters, 09/11/99

ASHINGTON - Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush won mixed reviews yesterday from public interest groups for his unprecedented move to list nearly $50 million in campaign donations on his Web site.

Common Cause and others public advocates said the Texas governor deserved credit for voluntarily posting on the Internet his more than 100,000 contributors.

But they complained he did it in a ''user unfriendly way'' that prevents others from downloading and quickly analyzing the data to learn how much he got from people allied with a specific industry or company.

''He is showing us a lot of the details, but it is virtually impossible to sort through all the details,'' said Larry Makinson of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions.

Bush announced Thursday, effective immediately, he would disclose on his Web site an updated daily list of donors rather than wait for the once-every-three-month report required by federal law.

His Web site, www.georgewbush.com, lists the donor's name as well as employer and occupation, provided such information is provided or can be obtained. It also lists the amount of the donation and the donor's home city and state.

But since it cannot be downloaded, there is no computer-enhanced ability to sift through the information.

To do it by hand would cost thousands of dollars and require thousands of hours, consumer spokesmen said.

Mindy Tucker, Bush's press secretary, said the data were deliberately provided so as to preclude downloading and use by rival candidates as a donor's list of their own.