A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 08, 2015
Donor Maintenance

The term “donor maintenance” became news during the Presidential administration of Bill Clinton. Bob Woodward wrote in the Washington (DC) Post on March 2, 1997:

“While Clinton performed what fund-raisers call ‘donor maintenance’ or ‘donor servicing’ – such as speaking at dinners, attending coffees or inviting donors to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom – the president told his campaign fund-raisers that he would not make direct requests for campaign money.”

That is, donors did not automatically receive a coffee with the president or a trip to the Lincoln bedroom as a quid-pro-quo for their donations. These things were “donor maintenance”—extra attention to keep donors happy.

Politico’s Ben Smith called donor maintenance “your euphemism of the day” on October 28, 2009.

“Donor maintenance” became an issue in 2015, this time with Hillary Clinton and Clinton Foundation.


Washington (DC) Post
Gore Was ‘Solicitor-in-Chief’
By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 2, 1997; Page A01
(...)
While Clinton performed what fund-raisers call “donor maintenance” or “donor servicing” – such as speaking at dinners, attending coffees or inviting donors to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom – the president told his campaign fund-raisers that he would not make direct requests for campaign money.

“You guys are the fund-raisers,” Clinton told several key campaign and party officials in 1995, according to one participant. “I’m not going to make calls to do your job.”

Instead, the task fell to Gore, whose appeals to big donors had three phases.

Washington (DC) Post
Democratic Fund-Raiser Hsia Indicted
By Roberto Suro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 19, 1998; Page A01
(...)
The most politically controversial event cited in the indictment is Gore’s appearance at the temple on April 29, 1996. Gore has offered differing characterizations of the event, first describing it as “community outreach,” later as a “donor-maintenance” event, meaning that as he put it “no money was offered or collected or raised at the event.”

Politico
October 28, 2009
‘Donor maintenance’
Posted by Ben Smith 03:50 PM

Here’s your euphemism of the day:

Democratic and White House officials shrugged off the documents as part of normal “donor maintenance” that does not provide contributors with any quid pro quo.

Routine donor maintenance in American politics has, of course, traditionally involved giving access and favors to people who give you money.

Twitter
Andrew Greene
‏@andrewverte
“Donor maintenance” is the most disgusting phrase of our current “democracy.” http://tmblr.co/ZqYm7ySGV5Ma
5:11 PM - 27 Aug 2012

Twitter
Ron Fournier
‏@ron_fournier
This looks like @HillaryClinton travelled as Sec/State to basically do @ClintonFdn donor maintenance http://ow.ly/JH0ap #1990sRedux
1:16 PM - 26 Feb 2015

Twitter
O. Ray Moose
‏@all_hrs
@gerfingerpoken2 And now it is emerging that all of that foreign travel was simply donor maintenance for the Clintons…
12:00 PM - 1 Mar 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, May 08, 2015 • Permalink