Monday, May 02, 2005
As Eliza Newlin Carney reports in the National Journal, the effort to rein in 527 groups is getting bogged down in Congress. As with officials elected by any system which favors those who cater to the opinions of the rich, members of Congress can't seem to pass campaign finance legislation without trying to put more money in their own campaign warchests.
The 527 bill started out as an attempt to make sure that the George Soros's and Roland Arnalls of the world had to play by the same rules as the rest of us when it comes to influencing elections. In other words, 527 groups that try to influence elections would be subject to the same limits as any other group that tries to influence elections in America.
But, Congress and the very 527 groups who would be regulated got their dirty little fingers on the bill and have smudged and smeared it up with amendments which would increase the influence of rich America on our elections, including increasing the amount an individual can give a PAC and the amount a PAC can give to a political party, unnecessarily exempting partisan voter registration efforts, and lifting restrictions on political contributions by corporations and trade unions.
This same thing happened last year in Ohio, where the legislature responded to a series of campaign finance scandals by passing a bill which quadrupled the amount an individual could give to a candidate from $2,500 to $10,000.
The problems in Columbus and in Washington, D.C. were one and the same: self-interested legislators cannot be trusted to pass meaningful campaign finance legislation that might pose a threat to their political survival, even if it makes our democracy more truly representative and less the personal fiefdom of wealthy interests.
Check out our Deep Six the 527 Loophole page for more information on 527 groups.