"they did not anticipate that the ban would simply divert the flow of big contributions into other channels. Concerned about the constitutionality of limiting free-speech rights of advocacy organizations, the sponsors did not include a ban on soft-money contributions to nonparty groups. Democrats quickly seized on that opportunity by creating 527s. These groups are nominally independent of the party. But one is headed by Harold Ickes, who ran Democratic politics from the Clinton White House; another, by Steve Rosenthal, the former political director of the AFL-CIO.
Wertheimer claims the FEC is derelict in allowing the 527s to operate this way. He may be right, but last week the agency voted for a 90-day delay in imposing new regulations -- tantamount to a pass for this election cycle. Republicans who had been pressing to shut them down now say they have no choice but to create their own 527s.
The reality, as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a leading critic of McCain-Feingold, has argued, is that in a country like ours, with its constitutional guarantees and its welter of interests, it is virtually impossible to control the flow of money from the private sector into the political world. Any regulatory scheme is likely to be quickly circumvented if it is not countermanded by the courts or the administrative agencies.
The best one can hope is that new rules do not produce more unintended negative consequences than benefits. McCain-Feingold is flunking that test. "
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Broder Discovers that Money Still Talks
This should be required reading before the "reformers" put us through still another attempt to separate money and politics. His WaPo column, "What McCain-Feingold Didn't Fix"