Candidates Thank Big Donors With ... Fancy Titles

Give Rick Perry $50K and you're officially a "Pilot"
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2011 3:47 PM CDT
Election 2012 Campaign Fundraising: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Other Candidates Woo Donors, Bestow Titles
Texas Governor Rick Perry greets visitors at the Iowa State Fair August 15 in Des Moines.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Consider yourself a Patriot? Not until you’ve given Rick Perry $500,000. If you’re a little less flush, you can be an Entrepreneur for $250,000, an Explorer for $100,000, or a Pilot for $50,000. Perry’s not the only one handing his donors special titles in exchange for big bucks: Mitt Romney, who headed the Olympics in Salt Lake City, offers gold, silver, and bronze designations; John Kerry labeled top donors “vice chairs," Hillary Clinton used "HillRaisers," and Rudy Giuliani offered “Slugger” and “MVP” titles, the Washington Post reports.

The practice dates back to George W. Bush, who named his donors after cowboy types: Pioneers, Mavericks, and Rangers. Indeed, President Obama seems to be about the only candidate not giving out such titles. What’s behind the donor-naming phenomenon? It was originated by charities as “motivation to move up the ladder,” says the head of a charity watchdog. “If these are very Type-A, competitive people, they want to be at the top level, so you give them the structure to aim for that.” (Read more presidential candidates stories.)

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