This article has nothing to do with small donors. In fact, it has everything to do with extremely large donations. The subject is the FEC's 4-2 decision to refuse to regulate "527 groups", the organizations formed in the wake of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reforms. The "boost for Democrats" mentioned in the headline is the fact that the largest of the 527 groups are raising enormous amounts of "soft money", banned under McCain/Feingold (BCRA), but legal for the 527 groups because the BCRA doesn't cover them. Labor organizations and super-wealthy Democrats are pouring vast sums of money to groups that were formed to hammer away at Bush.
In an attempt to fill the vacuum in Democratic Party finances created by the ban, top operatives, including former Clinton administration aide Harold M. Ickes and former AFL-CIO political director Steve Rosenthal, formed such 527s as the Media Fund and ACT.
These two organizations have already raised and spent more the $42 million, most of it soft money. The money has financed $23 million worth of television ads critical of Bush, and the formation of large-scale voter-mobilization programs in battleground states.
George Soros and his wife have contributed $7.5 million to ACT and MoveOn. Under the BCRA, they would be limited to $5000 in contributions to Kerry, but 527 contributions are unlimited.
In contrast with the headline, which implies that the Democrats are benefitting from many small contributions, there are absolutely no mentions of small contributions in the entire article. The regulations described would have limited the size of donations to groups attempting to influence federal elections, and would have required some groups to register with the FEC and disclose their expenditures.
I have written an e-mail to Mssrs. Edsall and Gettler asking who was responsible for the headline. If they respond, I will post it.