Money in Politics in the News

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The SPECIAL INTEREST SPOTLIGHT is normally going to be a weekly take on money in politics in coverage of the presidential race. However, today’s report by Lloyd Grove of the New York Daily News that the “Bush-Cheney '04 campaign has just issued a helpful ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ memo to its New York fund-raisers” begs for a special edition of the SPOTLIGHT.

The FAQ includes questions about the use of corporate jets (reimburse at a first-class ticket rate, please!) and how much money a host can spend on guests ($1,000 per guest). But the kicker to us seems to be this one:

“Q: Can I use my executive assistant to help with my fund-raising activities?

“A: Any person can volunteer to help. Employees may volunteer a maximum of 1 (one) hour per week during working hours and an unlimited amount outside of the office.”

Maybe the Bush-Cheney campaign should look for volunteers among the 3 million Americans who have lost their jobs since January 2001? After all, unlike executive assistants who have only one hour to give during business hours to the Bush campaign, unemployed manufacturing workers have lots of time urging people to attend Bush’s fundraising events or his photo ops in the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc.

But the SPOTLIGHT is convinced that there were some other FAQs that didn’t get reported. Here’s our best guess of what those omitted FAQs:

Q: How can I be assured that the President knows I’m giving?

A: First of all, give the maximum of $2,000. Then become a Ranger (pledge to raise $200,000) or a Pioneer (pledge to raise $100,000). Also consider getting your spouse and your children to donate, especially if you have the same last name. That makes it easier.

Q: Can I write something in the memo line on the check to indicate what I want in return?

A: Please do not write bill numbers, or the number for favorable executive orders, or (if you raise a lot) your preferred ambassadorial posting in the memo line on your check. Communicate that information verbally. Please put your tracking number or the tracking number of the person who asked you for money so we can make sure a Ranger is a Ranger and a Pioneer is a Pioneer.

Q: Will you provide security outside the fundraiser so I don’t have to walk past the protestors?

A: Free speech is an essential part of the democratic process. We will ensure that those who want to speak out have a place to do it… far, far away. Please be assured, with the new tools available to Attorney General John Ashcroft through the Patriot Act, we will know who these free-speaking Americans are. And what they had for lunch.

About Us
The non-partisan Campaign Money Watch holds elected officials accountable for opposing comprehensive campaign finance reform and for doing special favors for their political contributors. As the only national campaign finance reform group to conduct direct electoral advocacy, the Project ran a highly successful issue campaign in the Arkansas Senate race in 2002. 

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