Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Weak Cops on the Beat
The FEC is considering watering down the rules that deal with federal officeholders establishing more than one fundraising committee, according to this report in The Hill. They want to let politicians have one committee for their own re-election, and one that they can use to raise funds to give to other politicians. They call this second type a leadership PAC, since most politicians seem to confuse giving out money with leadership. This raises two interesting points. First, how can citizens trust the FEC when they are going out of their way to accommodate the interests of the politicians, rather than strictly upholding our existing campaign finance laws? Second, and perhaps more profoundly, what business does one member of congress have raising money for other politicians? They can't vote for other politicians, since they don't live in their districts. If a donor really wants to give money to candidate Jones, why not give it directly to candidate Jones, rather than giving it to candidate Smith's leadership committee so that Smith can then give it to Jones? One reason might be that a donor can only give $2000 to Jones directly, but could then give another $5000 to Smith's leadership committee which can then be passed on to Jones. This loophole allows the donor to funnel $7000 into the Jones race, in effect bypassing the contribution limit.

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