campaign finance

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Big, Bad Oil

Experts will tell you that it would be years before American consumers would seen any benefit from the proposed offshore oil drilling President Bush is attempting to push through Congress. So why is Senator John McCain (R) pushing the idea on the campaign trail as a solution to rising gas prices? ThinkProgress speculates on McCain's change of heart -- and the money he's taking in from the oil and gas industry.

Old Clunker

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy of the Brennan Center for Justice writes in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the popular, if inaccurate, shorthand for the Buckley v. Valeo decision, "money is speech" and how it has penetrated discussion about campaign finance at all levels, distorting debate and hurting efforts to reverse some of Buckley's more damaging consequences.

What To Do

Irked by a donor who got away with making some shady campaign contributions, the Detroit Free Press wants attention paid to combating the influence of money in politics, and implementing a workable public financing solution.

 

The paper is right on in moving beyond outrage over a seemingly illegal activity, to a general indictment of the larger private money system:

 

Return of the FEC

Now that controversial FEC nominee Hans von Spakovsky has withdrawn his name from consideration for a commissioner slot with the campaign finance oversight body, the Democrats who opposed his nomination are working fast to get a new slate of nominees ready and confirmed. The FEC, which oversees among other things the presidential public financing program, has been unable to issue binding decisions for some time because it lacked a quorum of commissioners. Hey, better late than never.

If It Ain't Fixed Go Break It

The New York Times calls shenanigans on doings at the Federal Election Commission: as Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) champion the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky who's well-known for his opposition to voting rights legislation, current FEC chairman David Mason is fired after he suggest Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may have broken the law in his efforts to extricate himself from the presidential public financing system.

Just the Same

The media narrative of "Sen. John McCain the maverick reformer" takes a bit of a beating in this New York Times story about one instance in particular when McCain used his influence to help a big campaign contributor -- more evidence that our corrupt and corrupting system needs an overhaul.

Big Money Still, Well, Big

Lest the stories about increased small-dollar donor participation in this year's Presidential contest have you thinking that big donor influence has been thwarted, the Washington Post has this front page story on the current poster candidate for small donors, who raises plenty of money the old-fashioned way.

Press on the Letter

The Washington Post gives a mention to our effort to put Sen. John McCain on the record in support of public financing of federal campaigns via a letter we have been circulating this past week. We've collected over 9,000 signatures for that letter, which we will attempting to deliver to Sen. McCain as he heads into a high-dollar fundraiser this evening at the Willard Hotel, just steps from the White House in downtown DC.

What Then?

Pundits and press folks have been understandably distracted by many other stories surrounding the presidential race, but despite the fact that the debate over public financing in the general election has died down somewhat, the fact remains that the Federal Election Commission is still short the necessary number of commissioners it needs to do its job, and that's just begging for trouble down the line.

Fundraising Makes Friends of Us All

The Republican presidential primary of 2000 featured a particularly vicious contest between Sen. John McCain and George W. Bush but when it comes to big money, all is forgiven. President Bush has sent his biggest donors and bundlers McCain's way now that McCain is the presumptive frontrunner for the GOP nomination.