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View Diary: Financial parity in sight (161 comments)

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  •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
    You mean where they sell votes to the highest bidder?

    And I didn't realize that the NRA and Chamber of Commerce and myriad other right-leaning groups and their tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars were sitting out this election.

    •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
      the NRA wasn't the one pushing for campaign finance reform in the first place.  Democrats were the ones talking about how soft money and 'fat cat' donors have completely corrupted all of politics.  Now that Democrats passed a law banning soft money you are sitting here talking about how great soft money is because its the only counter to the republicans ability to raise legal hard money.  The definition of hypocrisy is when someone claims to hold a belief but their actions show otherwise.  There can be no clearer definition than what you just posted.  

      Or maybe not... I wasn't here when CFR went through.  Did you support a soft money ban at the time?

      •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
        It was McCain-Feingold, wasn't it?

        Yes, a serious attempt was made at campaign finance reform. It was weakened from the original proposal and the majority of the FEC commissioners deliberately chose to interpret it in ways that would require either mental retardation or subversion of their office.

        So, given a sitting president with no opposition in the primaries  who will raise and spend $200 million (or more), what is any intelligent opposition supposed to do?

        When Hitler started expanding across Europe, did the rest of the continent say "we need to stay behind our borders"?

        •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
          I would think that a sitting president who is raising $200 million dollars in hard money would cause Democrats to increase fundraising to also raise $200 million dollars in hard money.  Not Democrats pushing for a soft money ban.... until they find out that they really need soft money so they look for ways around the law.

          Personally, I don't think it will matter much because I think its likely that the supreme court will remove all hard money restrictions as a limitation on people's first amendment rights.   (the decision will likely be out december 3rd btw) At least then ever dollar that comes in would be public record which is far better than what we have now.

          •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
            Money (in total amounts each individual can donate) does not equal speech. It equals "supervoting". Instead of "one person/one vote" as the maxim, we have Bill Gates gets 1M votes on who gets the nod, while Joe Six Pack gets one. Individual limitations are fine in direct contributions. In fact, it's worked wonders in this primary campaign.

            However, there is no way in this universe there will ever be an end to "interest group" fundraising and outside expenditures, such as Soros, or Scaife on the other side. How could you write a law that restricts that? We saw how that works under the old rules...with "issue ads" that were barely veiled attack ads. Even public finance wouldn't end that.

            Like it or not, this stuff will always be there. And eliminating hard money restrictions won't end it either...a lot of these groups and donors will want to stay on the down low so they aren't associated to a campaign, and they will run "issue ads" without attribution anyway.

            So trying to kill all hard restrictions based on an impossiblity (the end of "soft money', or the equivalent) is silly. A pure example of eliminating the good in search of the perfect.

            •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
              Either you think that Gates and Soros should be able to use their financial resources to get a candidate elected or you do not.  Since we both agree that there is no way under the first amendment to limit donations to third party groups to get a candidate elected then really what is the big deal about calling it hard money or soft money?  Why should we care if it was donated directly to the candidate or to a 3rd party who will use it to get the candidate elected?  If we can't stop you from donating a million dollars to get someone elected then you should be able to use that 1 million dollars however you wish.  

              Personally I think that there should be no individual limit because then at least we would know EXACTLY how much money a person has donated to a candidate.  Everything would be in the open for people to look at.  You would have to answer for all the money you have accepted.  To me we currently have the worst possible solution where the same amount of money is being donated by exactly the same people as if there were no individual limits but now its all hidden and secret.  As long as we are in agreement that there is no way to keep a Soros from throwing his financial weight behind a candidate lets push for as much disclosure as possible.

              •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
                Personally I think that there should be no individual limit because then at least we would know EXACTLY how much money a person has donated to a candidate.

                I believe exactly the opposite. All money donated should be completely opaque to everyone except the donor. That includes the recipient. The money would have to go through some sort of clearinghouse, with checks and such made out to the clearinghouse administrator, with a separate form indicating the end beneficiary. Some other mechanisms separating the method of donation from the recipient would work just as well.

                It's awfully hard to "buy" someone/something if you can't prove you actually paid for it.

                •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
                  Yeah, I've read about this as well. But there would have to be draconian penalties on those working at the clearing house (likely the FEC, with outside auditing) who disclose information. And I mean really draconian penalties, like life in prison. There would just be too much incentive for bribery to circumvent the double blind.
              •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
                I notice you didn't bother with the third in the name troika, "Scaife". I love the way conservatives think that by selectively choosing which names to pick, they think everyone will just magically forget it.

                You also convieniently forgot my other point, which is that even if we did drop all limits on "hard" money, and required donation tracking, it still wouldn't end this stuff. There will still be numerous folks who will try to hide their donations by funding TP groups. Your own poster boy, Scaife, is a perfect example. I don't think anyone is confused about where and how much Soros is dropping, but Scaife slips his under the table as much as possible.

                The reality is, divisive figures, or folks who got their money in questionable ways will generate TP groups anyway. Look at Bush's 2000 run, and his crooked Silver Millionaire buddies that created multiple front organization to hide their multi-million $ ads. They knew they were toxic if disclosed, so they faked it. Casino money, Tobacco, etc...will pull the same trick.

                So your proposed "solution" would fix nothing, except it would let you tap into your millionaires wallets. And for all the talk and phony posturing, that's really what you folks want.

                The reality is that there are ways one can limit "soft money". You'll never stop it, just as you'll never stop murder, rape, etc...but you can sure elimate 90%+ of it. Simple. Make the laws have teeth. If you don't disclose who really did the ad, you get 20 years in prison, no parole. Ditto if you coordinate with the campaign (and the campaign staffer who did that goes down as well). Almost no one will risk that kind of penalty to cheat the rules. Oh, and lower the individual maximum to $1K on the hard side.

                That would drive out a lot of the crooked long green in 5 seconds.

        •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
          When Hitler started expanding across Europe, did the rest of the continent say "we need to stay behind our borders"?

          No, they sat back and said to themselves, "Oh look, maybe he'll get rid of the Communists for us".

        •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
          When Hitler started expanding across Europe, did the rest of the continent say "we need to stay behind our borders"?


          But you know what was the result.


          "Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

          by RavenTS on Thu Nov 20, 2003 at 05:27:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
      let's not forget other unseemly tactics of the republican fundraising machine

      i am quite comfortable with what the dems plan to do....

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