Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Congress shall make no law...

...respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...

It's not easy for two Senators to write a bill that significantly abets the "problem" it was designed to squelch. But Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold did. Designed to curb the big less-accountable "soft money" campaign contributions in '04, the Mc-Fein "reform" bill created record-breaking fundraising and the birth of 527's as unaccountable out-posts for leagal campaign money laundering. Congratualtions, gentlemen. You've made affirmative action look successful by comparison.
Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.
Yet today, CQ reveals that Senator Never Gonna Be President McCain isn't playing by his own rules:
In a small office a few miles from Capitol Hill, a handful of top advisers to Senator John McCain run a quiet campaign. They promote his crusade against special interest money in politics. They send out news releases promoting his initiatives. And they raise money - hundreds of thousands of dollars, tapping some McCain backers for more than $50,000 each.

This may look like the headquarters of a nascent McCain presidential bid in 2008. But instead, it is the Reform Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to overhauling campaign finance laws and one whose work has the added benefit of keeping the senator in the spotlight.

The institute has drawn little notice, but it offers a telling glimpse into how Mr. McCain operates. In the four years since its creation, it has accelerated its fund-raising, collecting about $1.3 million last year, double what it raised in 2003, a sizable sum for a group that exists to curb the influence of money in politics. ...

"It's screaming hypocrisy, isn't it?" said Roy Schotland, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and a critic of Mr. McCain's campaign finance legislation. "What he's doing is what he and his side are always screaming about, violating at least the spirit of the campaign finance laws."

As chairman of the Reform Institute's advisory committee, Mr. McCain is often praised in its news releases and featured in its fund-raising letters, a useful boost for any potential presidential candidate.

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