Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hopes to motivate college student campaign volunteers by offering them a cut of the fundraising.
Participants in "Students for Mitt" will get 10 percent of the money they raise for the campaign beyond the first $1,000 (EUR750). While candidates often offer professional fundraisers commissions up to 8 percent, campaign experts believe the Massachusetts Republican is the first to do so with the legion of college students who have historically served as campaign volunteers.
"For the kids that want to get involved in a political campaign and they don't want to spend their summer painting houses, they can help the campaign and themselves at the same time," said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden.
Others take a dimmer view.
"It may very well succeed, but I'd like to think that he'd approach young people and college students based on their commitment to the country, not because they want walking-around money," said Steve Grossman, a prominent Massachusetts fundraiser and past chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and a millionaire venture capitalist, is engaged in a fundraising battle with rivals for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, including such better-known candidates as Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Presidential candidates face a first-quarter fundraising deadline this Saturday, with reports released on April 15. Those totals will strongly contribute to perceptions of political viability.
Running third or worse in public opinion polls, Romney is looking to raise at least $15 million (Ђ11.3 million) to cement his status as a top-tier candidate.
Successful applicants to Students for Mitt get an identification number and source code so the campaign can track donations made at their behest.
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