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Money Coming In

We all know that candidates for the Presidency and Congress alike are making the calls to the small, elite group of donors known for writing four-figure checks in election years. But other major avenues for political money are the independent 527 groups who can raise an unlimited amount of money and spend it at will, provided they follow requirements to disclose the source of that money.

Keep Your Caps On

Laura MacCleery of the Brennan Center for Justice challenges a recent proposition in Roll Call to deal with the largely unregulated activities of independent "527" committees in elections by loosening campaign contributions limits, suggesting that a much better alternative is a robust full public financing program for federal elections.

The article, which is available in full only to subscribers gives some perspective to the immense amount of money being spent this election cycle:

House Passes "527" legislation

The House approved legislation last night that would put limits on individual contributions to tax- exempt 527 committees.  Individual contributions would be capped at $5,000 a year to committees engaged in federal elections and $25,000 to committees engaged in partisan voter registration.  Read the Washington Post story for the full scoop.

More reflection on WSJ editorial

The Wall Street Journal editorial below stops a hair's breadth short of calling on DeLay to step down.

Gingrich Warns DeLay About Ethics

Interesting column by Cragg Hines in today's Houston Chronicle entitled "If Newt is warning DeLay about ethics, times are bad."

Potential New Ethics Charges Against DeLay

Newsweek published an article entitled "DeLay: More Cash—And More Questions." It seems that DeLay, in addition to cramming his war chests full of cash, has been filling his legal defense fund with "donations" from lobbyists (which, according to Public Citizen, is another violation of the House ethics rules but DeLay's office has already promised to return those).

Why did DeLay push a pro-tobacco amendment in an anti-terrorism bill?

The Daily DeLay: T-Minus 8 days and Counting
DeLay Uses 9-11 Bill to Try to Payback Big Tobacco

In October 2001, DeLay added a provision to anti-terrorism legislation that would have prevented foreign governments from recouping billions from tobacco companies in lost revenues and damages.

What tobacco companies' interests had to do with post 9-11 anti-terrorism legislation is still unclear.