The news that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will return the $850,000 she collected from Democratic bundler, and wanted felon, Norman Hsu gets praise from Forbes, and a warning from the Washington Post that is further evidence that our campaign finance system is due for a change.
Clinton's decision to return the money and implement a strict background check procedure for her donors in the future does set a new standard, as Forbes puts it. It also underscores a new reality for candidates under the gun to bring in campaign cash. While Clinton's campaign took an image hit for its association with Hsu, coverage of the presidential primary race has placed great emphasis on the fundraising prowess of each candidate -- do you risk a few shady characters on your donor rolls to avoid the editorial firing squad that assembles each time you fail to make your fundraising goals?
As the Washington Post rightly argues, the Hsu flap is just more evidence that our system puts candidates between a rock and a hard place, and the bottom line is that we must strengthen the presidential public financing system.