campaign finance

Bundled Up

William Safire used his New York Times Magazine "On Language" column on Sunday to trace the evolution of the word "bundling" all the way from Dutch teenagers to George Bush, citing Public Campaign's Rick Bielke on the first use of the term to refer to the practice of skirting campaign contribution limits by getting big donors to solicit money from friends and associates for their candidate of choice.

Hush Money

Oh, the games we play. Candidates for President are working the fundraising circuit with feverish intensity, while doing everything they can to downplay how much money they'll raise -- all so that on April 15th, when the first campaign filings are due, they can awe and astound with the piles of money they've raked in, and get that one step closer to the White House.

 

Hot on the Money Trail

The next election frenzy hasn't begun in earnest in the public eye, but behind closed (and gilded) doors, the race for campaign cash is on and as these two articles describe.

Revisit Pulled Proposal

Last week saw a flurry of campaign finance activity on the Philadelphia City Council surrounding a proposal by Councilor Jim Kenney to do away with campaign contribution limits. Kenney eventually pulled this proposal and others from consideration, a move the Philadelphia Inquirer praises while recommending that Kenney's proposal for public financing for municipal elections be given consideration in due time.

 

The Peril of Promises

Embattled Rep. John Doolittle(R-CA) is trying to get back on the good side of his constituents after barely keeping his seat in the 2006 mid-term elections. Trying to put his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and allegations of unethical fundraising activity behind him, he's promising greater accountability, and more attention to constituents. A fine gesture, but can he be for real?

 

Name That Bundler

The Republican is looking for a little more disclosure in the realm of campaign finance, particularly in this brave new world of bundling where super-fundraisers give the max donation to a candidate and find, say, a hundred friends willing to do the same, yet don't need to disclose anything beyond their individual gift.

 

And Pretty Soon You're Talking Real Money

$1,000,000,000. That's how much the next presidential race is going to cost, when all is said and done. A billion bucks will be collected from a small group of the nation's wealthiest and most powerful who will come knocking at the door before the last inauguration balloon hits the floor looking for a return on their dollar. It will be, as Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) says: "ridiculous."

 

We (Frequently) Stop Working For You

There's no question: if we want a Congress that works for us full time, we need full public financing of elections. Further evidence comes in the form of the article from today's Roll Call (sub. required) indicating that the longer work week proposed for Congress this year will mean more and more fundraisers to satisfy the need for campaign cash.

 

From the article:

More Trouble for Doolittle

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) who narrowly won re-election last month amid growing allegations of his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is writing a lot of checks to a law firm that handles campaign finance cases - $44,138 in all, and probably not the last of it.

 

Wealth Primary, Stealth Primary

The Washington Post is calling it an "invisible primary" - the lead-up to the 2008 presidential race in which the competitive candidates will be chosen on the basis of how much early money they can bring in from a small, elite circle of wealthy power players. You can't write a check for $2,000 and promise 100 friends who can do the same? Then your opinion means nothing.