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They Are Not Alone

Bret Matthew in his opinion column for the Brandeis Hoot, "The Book of Matthew" (ha) paints a bleak portrait of the modern campaign for public office, and touts Clean Elections as the answer to an electoral process plagued by the buying and selling of influence.

He imagines the evolution of a young candidate who, in order to play the game and win office must become indebted to corporate interests and other sources of big campaign checks:

The Doughnut Dilemma

Here's what happens on Capitol Hill when you change the rules but not the game: a bunch of lobbyists and their legal advisors get together to hammer out a policy on tuna sandwiches. As new lobbying regulations go in to effect cutting into the lavish dinners and other events lobbyists had previously held to woo members of Congress, they're putting their heads together to find all the loopholes.

Same Mistake Twice

From the Department of Will They Never Learn? we get this little item: Rep. John Doolittle has disclosed $45,000 in payments to his wife, Julie, in the last quarter for "fundraising work." Incidentally, Doolittle's fundraising has faltered recently due to the investigation surrounding his relationship with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and his fundraising activities -- including the commission system he worked out with his wife.


Go Where the Money Is

In response to an article on the Washington Post on Republican presidential candidates turning down invitations to speak to Hispanic and African-American audiences, Public Campaign President and CEO Nick Nyhart, and George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton sent this letter to the Post speculating on the reason those invitations were turned down. Read on for the full text.


Doubting Donors

There's a new bonus in store for high-dollar donors to presidential campaigns: suspicion. Loath to unearth another Norman Hsu on their donor rolls, campaigns are gearing up efforts to research their donors and evaluate their motives for giving.

Dirty Laundry

How do you circumvent donation limits and exploit a matching donation program to boot? Ask the real estate developers who "launder" contributions to the Los Angeles mayor and city council as explored this report by the local NBC affiliate (transcript and video available).

Workable Solution

Everyone is chewing over the bundler problem -- both in terms of the influence they exert over, and the potential liability they can be to candidates. Some preach better background research on where the money is coming from and some, like the Hartford Courant, counsel more sweeping reform.

From the Courant:


The Oprah Argument

This one's a bit of a head-scratcher. The Los Angeles Times compares Norman Hsu to Oprah Winfrey to illustrate the point that not all campaign bundlers are crooks. And while I grant them that premise I don't buy that just because some bundlers are good people, bundling is a good thing.

Hsu Let the Dogs Out

Now that the Norman Hsu story has lifted the veil on the criminals past, present, and potential filling out the donor rolls of presidential contenders the Washington Post takes the opportunity to point to a few familiar, nefarious names giving big to Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and John Edwards among others. As for the candidates, they're stuck choosing between a credible campaign and question-free cash.

What Is a Vote Worth?

Republican presidential candidates are turning down invitations to participate in debates sponsored by black and Hispanic organizations and and institutions leading critics to questions whether the party is interested in courting votes from those constituencies. The candidates say they're not ignoring minorities, they're just too busy fundraising. Which, as it happens, means largely ignoring minorities.