Outside Spending, It’s 200 Million

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By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

The Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog reporting group (more here) reports that spending  for political campaigns has reached the 200 million dollar mark.  The article by Anupama Narayanswamy starts with:
Spending by outside groups trying to influence the mid-term elections increased by a staggering $78 million in the last week, pushing the total spent by non-profits, labor unions and party committees to more than $200 million this cycle. That’s an 80 percent increase from 2006, the last mid-term election.
“Super PACs”–groups that register with the FEC their intention to raise unlimited funds and run independent expenditure ads–have spent a total of $21.4 million so far.
It appears the report tags no favorites and labor unions, both political parties and other big fund-raiser are given equal treatment in the story.
Spending by outside groups trying to influence the mid-term elections increased by a staggering $78 million in the last week, pushing the total spent by non-profits, labor unions and party committees to more than $200 million this cycle. That’s an 80 percent increase from 2006, the last mid-term election.
“Super PACs”–groups that register with the FEC their intention to raise unlimited funds and run independent expenditure ads–have spent a total of $21.4 million so far.
It appears that both major political parties, labor unions and other big dough raisers  are equals when it comes to the overall reporting and no one is left out as sacred (at least among the big elephants, donkeys and labor progressives):
In the last four days alone the top five spending organizations disclosed spending $13.8 million and includes a spike in spending by two of the party committees (the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee). American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS–both of which are advised by Republican strategist Karl Rove–and the National Association of Realtors round out the top five.
A group who has been braying a lot in the last week or so leads the spending increase for the past week.  Perhaps they are hoofing it in a hurry to combat the spending by the Republicans:
The DCCC has upped it’s spending considerably (sic) than previous weeks and has spent more than $6.3 million over the last four days, mostly on opposition ads. Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)4 group that doesn’t disclose its donors, spent $2.4 million mostly on close Senate races.
There’s very little more in the story, but here’s the link if you wish to access it and plunk around where you’ll find more stories.

Sell A Vote = Bad, Sell An Endorsement; Not So?

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By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

We all know that lobbyists, in effect, if not directly, contribute money for favorable treatment from a member, or members of Congress.  Payments where there is no question as to the intent, i.e., buying a vote or votes are against the law.  But, how about a Congressperson soliciting and then accepting money for a political endorsement by the Congressperson.  According to the Sunlight Foundation, in a blog article by Lindsay Young.  the latter is just what at least one member of Congress  is doing,  and she  has done so in earlier years:

Longtime Democratic lawmaker Maxine Waters has perfected an unusual tactic for fundraising over the years – getting candidates, including some of California’s most prominent political figures, running for state and local offices, to pay as much as $45,000 for her endorsement on election mailers. In this election cycle alone, Waters has raised 59 percent of her campaign’s treasury through these “slate mailers.”

What’s more, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) says it is perfectly legal, although many, if not most of the payments surpass the amount allowed under FEC authority.  Purchasers for Ms. Waters’ endorsements are numerous and run the gamut from municipal candidates or causes to congressional candidates and  other causes:

Waters, who has been in Congress for more than three decades, routinely sends out mailers endorsing a list of other candidates and ballot initiatives she supports. In the 2010 cycle, she has raised more than $295,550 out of a total of $497,300 through these mailers. And getting on one of her slate mailers doesn’t come cheap—to be featured on the “Citizens for Maxine Waters” slate, candidates pay anywhere between $250 and $45,000.

Friends of Barbara Boxer, the campaign committee for Sen. Boxer, D-Calif., paid $5,000 for an endorsement. Gloria Romero, the former Senate Majority Leader running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, chipped in $25,000. Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco and a candidate for lieutenant governor, and Kamala Harris, San Francisco’s district attorney and a candidate for state attorney general, have kicked in $45,000 and $25,000 respectively. Dave Jones, candidate for State Insurance Commissioner, invested $25,000.

Perhaps some causes, and some politicians aren’t worth charging for, or Ms. Waters deems them so worthy, she donates her endorsement without collecting a single penny.  The forgoing aside,  a representative from the FEC has said:

Christian Hill, an FEC spokesperson, said that money paid for slate mailers “…is exempt from the definition of ‘contribution’ and ‘expenditure’ under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).” Like the interest campaigns earn from a bank account or investment income they might receive if they’ve invested in stocks, slate mailers are income to the campaign, usually categorized as “other” in FEC summaries and by other organizations that aggregate contributions data like the Center for Responsive Politics.

Congress, or some members at least, grunt their success at doing away with pork and they also crow about their success at revising campaign law for the benefit of the citizens and the detriment of the  crooked lobbyists and other spoilers.  I believe it can be said, based on the report from the Sunlight Foundation,  congress has given us hoaxes of the cruelest sort.  If actions, such as those taken by Ms. Waters are  allowed … why waste the efforts of Congress and the money of taxpayers.

There is much more to read in the Sunlight Foundation article.  You really should read it.  If for no other reason than to see how Congress manages to betray American citizens while selling them a bill of goods.

Here’s the link to the rest of the story.

Just A Little Hypocrisy, Do You Think

Crocodile
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By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

President Obama calling out the SCOTUS during his SOTU seems like so many Crocodile tears. Words about foreign and fraudulent donations seem hypocritical when they came from the Clintons, and now they seem more so, when a probable recipient takes our U.S. Supreme Court to task for doing their job.

If the story, which is linked below, is to be believed, then Mr. Obama escaped serious sanctions only because his illicit gain was a rather insignificant percentage of his overall campaign treasure (in the minds of many) and he didn’t take the 84 million in public money that would have triggered an audit.

Here are some quotes from the story, some of which come from off site sources such as Politico:

OBAMA LIKELY TO ESCAPE CAMPAIGN DONOR AUDIT Politico (hat tip Cathy)

The Federal Election Commission is unlikely to conduct a potentially embarrassing audit of how Barack Obama raised and spent his presidential campaign’s record-shattering windfall, despite allegations of questionable donations and accounting that had the McCain campaign crying foul.

Adding insult to injury for Republicans: The FEC is obligated to complete a rigorous audit of McCain’s campaign coffers, which will take months, if not years, and cost McCain millions of dollars to defend.

Politico articles or observations are not the main sources for the allegations.  A blog called Atlas Shrugs owned by Pamela Geller lays the allegations out in spades and includes 51 posts that relate to Mr. Obama’s foreign and domestic contributors.

Obama’s Crocodile Tears are not the end of hypocrisy

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