Friday, June 20, 2008

McCain Gets Around FEC $2300 Donation Limits - way around!

former reformer and maverick John McCain who is circumventing FEC donation limitsTo help ease their fund-raising woes, John McCain’s campaign has devised a new system to increase the maximum amount an individual can donate to the unofficial Republican nominee’s election efforts. The new structure allows up to $70,000 in individual contributions by channeling the money into different McCain-centric funds.

From the Wall Street Journal almost two months ago:

The idea is to tap donors for more than the $2,300 limit set by campaign finance laws. Under legislation pushed by McCain in his role as a senator from Arizona, an individual can donate a maximum of $2,300 to a presidential primary campaign and the same amount to the general election campaign...

The new structure allows up to $70,000 in individual contributions by channeling the money into different McCain-centric funds. The first $2,300 of that would go to McCain’s primary campaign. The Republican National Committee would receive $28,500 of the donation. The remaining funds would be divided equally, up to $10,000 a piece, among four states the campaign has designated as battlegrounds for November: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico.

So, here's the maverick reformer, all hot and bothered that Obama got tired of waiting for him to match the offer on public funding, but does McCain's rhetoric match his actions? Clearly not. It's no wonder Obama moved on - McCain had built his way to circumvent the limits back in April!

From the Huffington Post, also back in April:
The media has been abuzz over speculation that John McCain will accept public financing in the general election. The attention has overshadowed a new fund structure that will allow the McCain camp to collect significantly more money than the individual limits placed by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.
The article reports further on an open letter from the non-partisan organization Public Campaign Action Fund to McCain asking that he drop the system:
This joint fundraising committee, called McCain Victory '08 Fund, will allow your campaign to accept contributions as large as $70,000, according to the New York Times - an amount that is far in excess of contribution limits for candidates and political parties put in place by your own campaign finance law, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as McCain-Feingold. Your willingness to evade the spirit of McCain-Feingold sets a poor precedent for whomever the Democratic Party nominates as your general election opponent. It also sends a signal that your campaign is less serious about the importance of participating in the public financing system in the general. Indeed, even if you were to participate, you and your campaign are exploiting a loophole and will be still be courting wealthy donors who could donate tens of thousands to the McCain Victory '08 Fund.

You and your campaign will describe this activity as legally sound. But that does not make it right.

Are these the above-board actions of a candidate interested in campaign reform? Certainly his reaction doesn't bode well for reform, and the fact that the structures are in place shines clear light on why Obama doesn't want to accept the spending restrictions that come with accepting public funding when the Republicans have hatched and implemented a scheme to circumvent the whole system!

CNN's Paul Begala - Republican Or Democrat?

I just saw CNN Contributor and former Clinton Aide Paul Begala on "The Situation Room" talking "in defense" of Barack Obama on Campaign Finance and on NAFTA against a Republican Strategist who I will not name because it doesn't matter.

Begala sounded like he was half in support of Obama and half sympathetic to John McCain. Meanwhile the Republican Strategist was consistently on the attack against Obama. Paul did not effectively hit back. What's up?

Is Paul still smarting from Clinton's loss?