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View Diary: The Regulators Push Back (56 comments)

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  •  Contributions = Reports (2+ / 0-)
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    Molee, Rogneid

    Nothing about the Internet changes the fact that when you make a contribution, all the data around that contribution is collected and reported to the FEC.  

    So all the fuzzy issues about "what if a party did this?" really fall away, because the core doesn't change.   When money goes to a campaign, it gets reported.

    •  Do any other laws apply to the (0+ / 0-)

      fundraising organization?

      My vague understanding is that there various kinds of rules that don't have to do with reporting that apply to PACs and other FEC-registered organizations.

      Is contribution reporting and policing contribution limits the only thing a PAC or political party has to do, or are there other things it has to do?

      •  there's a lot more parties/PACs have to do. (0+ / 0-)

        Just focus on the bundling issue, and let the reform groups explain it.  Basically, the issue only reaches critical regulatory mass when the bundler touches the money herself and exercises "direction or control" over the choice of candidate to whom the contribution is made.  Otherwise, it's all on the actual donor, and not the conduit.  See also the WE LEAD advisory opinion.

        Suppose Markos posted an item saying "Please help John Kerry for President in EVERY WAY YOU CAN", but didn't mention money, and just linked to Kerry's homepage and not the contributions page.  Do you want a world in which they'd have to parse out whether he meant money or something else?

        •  Why this is a First Amendment issue (0+ / 0-)

          Suppose Markos posted an item saying "Please help John Kerry for President in EVERY WAY YOU CAN", but didn't mention money, and just linked to Kerry's homepage and not the contributions page.  Do you want a world in which they'd have to parse out whether he meant money or something else?

          I understand that a lot of people who claim to be objecting to campaign finance laws on First Amendment grounds are crooks, but I think an honest civil libertarian could be troubled by campaign finance laws for just this reason.

          On the one hand, a church is legally not supposed to be a PAC. It's really creepy if a church acts like a PAC. I might be sort of happy if one of Pat Robertson's churches got fined for acting like a wingnut PAC. But I'd be creeped out if a normal wingnut (or, worse, moderate or liberal) church got heavily fined for acting like a PAC.

          Along the same lines, I'd be really happy if the Republican Party got in huge trouble for evading campaign finance laws by pretending to be a giant Web news organization. But I'd be very unhappy if either Markos or the RedState folks (assuming that's actually an independent blog and not some weird front) got in trouble for simply using their little blogs to link to candidates' fundraising forms.

          Of course Markos ought to be permitted to link to a "donate to Kerry" (or, preferrably, Al Gore or Eric Shinseki) form, but I don't want the Green Party, the Communist Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party or the Libertarian Party to turn itself into a fake Daily Kos to escape whatever requirements normally apply to political parties.

          Anyhow, I'm going to stop replying in this thread because I've got to go do life stuff, and I think I'm starting to come off as being too stubborn, but, to sum up, I do think it would be important for Markos to have lawyers who can really look at this from the point of view of a RNC lawyer who will be looking for yummy loopholes.

          Somehow, people have to develop rules that let 12-year-olds in attics link to Pat Buchanan campaign contribution forms without getting fined by the FEC while prohibiting political parties and genuine PAC-type organizations from using the rules that apply to 12-year-olds in attics.

          And, of course, the overriding message is that we have to defeat the wingnuts in 2006 and 2008 because polar ice has stopped forming correctly. I'm not sure if anything else really matters very much, in comparison.

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