Monday, October 03, 2005
In today's Washington Post, Jeffrey Birnbaum takes a look at Federal Elections Commissioner Scott Thomas, who often stands alone at the FEC in defending the nation's campaign finance laws. (See this recent FEC decision for one example.) While many members of Congress backed the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, it was little more than political cover for some, as evidenced by the weak-stomached and mealy-mouthed FEC Commissioners which Congress picks to enforce (or not enforce) the nation's campaign laws.
So when you hear the lackeys for the rich start to rev up their tired rap that campaign finance laws never work and are pointless, perhaps remind them that campaign finance laws can and do work, but only if they are enforced.
Birnbaum also points the way towards a new study by the Center for Public Integrity into federal lobbyists who also serve as the treasurer for the leadership PACs of the very elected officials who them lobby. One such lobbyist, former FEC general counsel William Oldaker, is the treasurer for the leadership PACs of Senators Harry Reid, Max Baucus, and Teddy Kennedy, even as he gets paid to influence those same elected officials.