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Opinions: Dems Want it Both Ways on 'Dirty' Money

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 11:21 AM

If Democrats really cared about reforming how elections are funded, that would have done something about it when they  had control of Washington for two full years. They had enough votes to make a solid attempt to hinder Super PACs and other ways money influences elections. They conveniently didn't see it as a priority, but now that they don't have control of Washington, they're trying to pretend like they care.

Actions, or lack thereof, speak louder than propaganda, and now those same Dems are crying home to momma about how they're raising less outside money than the Republicans are. That's true, but they'd like you do ignore a whole slew of related numbers, and just focus on Super PAC money... you know, because that's the only money that is bad.

Barack Obama raised more in the first two quarters of the campaign than Mitt Romney has the whole election so far, and the most recent data shows him with roughly TEN TIMES as much money on hand ($10 million to $100 million). In fact, Obama raised more than Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry put together so far, through March 31st.

While the stereotype is that Democrats raise more small dollar money as a portion of their overall haul, Ron Paul matches Obama with 45 percent of his money coming from small dollar donations. Leading by far in this category is independent Buddy Roemer, who's raised 82 percent from small individual donors. Romney is the almost the worst out of major candidates, having only has raised 11 percent from small donors - although that is likely to go up now that he's tied up the nomination. This is almost as bad as Rick Perry, who raised a whopping 95 percent from big donors during his short and disastrous campaign.

The Democrats try to pretend like Obama not taking PAC money last time, or encouraging Super PAC donations, was some sort of noble act. In reality, Obama had a giant edge over McCain in fundraising, so he flip flopped on his earlier intention to go with public financing, as John McCain offered to do, which would have put him much closer to on par with his opponent money wise.

Most of the liberal groups pushing for an end to Super PAC type groups' secret, and/or unlimited, money really only want to end the advantages that right leaning donors have, rather than all special interests. Looking at the fine print of proposals, you'll notice a lack of cracking down on organizations that are with blue teams. Again, if they really cared, they'd ban ALL donations from any source that isn't a human being, and not leave loopholes for organizations like unions.

They're also trying to wag the dog by conveniently leaving out the aforementioned mountain of money that Obama is raking into his campaign, and how he is blowing Romney away in money collected by bundlers (people who bring in stacks of checks of at least $50,000.00, trade the money for access to the White House, and got stimulus money, government contracts and jobs in the administration in return), over a hundred of which have raised over $500,000.00 for the campaign. A large portion of these bundlers come from the ranks of deep pocketed law firms and finance agencies, and the Obama campaign and the DNC have almost 400 new bundlers (almost for sure more, as this number was from data collected before March 31st) this cycle already.

They lose what credibility they might have left when they lament that their biggest donor, George Soros, is deciding to focus his money on enabling grassroots level initiatives, rather than big ad buys.

Like with so many other things, the Democrats like to pretend like they have some kind of higher ground because they see the Republicans as worse, when really all they are is bought and paid for by different special interests whose  pockets aren't quite as deep. Don't agree? Then why do you think Obama Inc. was conveniently quiet on the subject four years ago, when they were crushing McCain and company in the money race?

They're both well past their eyeballs in a steaming piles of money that comes with strings attached. Obama's actions in rewarding large campaign donors since being in office show he's just like the rest in this regard, and there is no reason to think that Romney would be any better.

The Democrats are swimming in money. They may well end up raising less than the Republicans, but their lack of action when they had the upper hand is evidence of how much their cries now are nothing but rank hypocrisy. That river they're crying... they can wipe the tears off those fat cat cheeks with crisp stacks of hundred dollar bills, between record setting fundraisers that cost more than most people make in a year to even get a couple seats and coming up with new ways to spin being bought and paid for by different special interests than the Republicans is somehow anything other than just another corrupt horse of a different color.

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Comments [1]

Osborne from usa

I don't want to be nitpicky here, but 1) Citizens United was decided in Jan 2010, right around the time Scott Brown shocked Martha Coakley in the MA special election and right before the health care vote. After those two events, whatever political capital President Obama and the Democrats had to pass anything was gone. So to criticize Dems for not curbing SuperPACs in the two years they controlled Congress and the Presidency is disingenuous at best.

2) would be nice if you linked a "proposal" the democrats have put out there exempting unions from a "crackdown" but singling out corporations. If they have, i agree, that is wrong. But i haven't seen this. I think most democratic members of congress and the president would be in favor of eliminating SuperPACs in any form.

3) to criticize President Obama for raising money through the aggregation of small donors is ... i'm at a loss for words actually. Are you suggesting that any political donation is "dirty money"? What is he supposed to do? Not raise money? Seems like a recipe for defeat to me.

4) i was going to rip you for not suggesting any solutions yourself but then i got to thinking about how complicated the whole system is and resigned myself to the fact that there probably isn't a solution out there. at least not one that doesn't involve a complete overhaul of our understanding of the First Amendment and a demolition of entrenched interests. Neither is likely in my view.

May. 16 2012 02:35 PM

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