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Willisms

« Quotational Therapy: Part 51 -- Tom DeLay, On Terrorism. | WILLisms.com | Pundit Roundtable »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 193 -- Money In Texas Politics.

Political Money Sent From Washington To Texas-

Having trouble figuring out all this Tom DeLay stuff? Well, here's the gist of the allegations:

I. Spending corporate money in politics is illegal in Texas, but not most places.
II. DeLay raised corporate money in Texas, but didn't spend it.
III. DeLay sent the corporate money to Washington.
IV. Washington sent a different amount of non-corporate money to Texas at a later date.
V. This "laundered" money was spent on state races in 2002.
VI. This was a particularly important election because it led to the long overdue redistricting of Texas to finally reflect the political ideology and partisan affiliation of most Texans.

FollowTheMoney.org notes that Tom DeLay and the Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (TRMPAC) have been unfairly singled out (.pdf):

nationalpartycontributionsr.gif

The Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) sent nearly 11 million dollars to the Republican Party of Texas in 1998, 2000, and 2002.

Now, the Democrats.

nationalpartycontributionsd.gif

The Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) gave quite a bundle of money to the Texas Democratic Party during the time in question.

And Democrats "laundered" (if that's what Ronnie Earle wants to call it) plenty of campaign cash, via soft-for-hard money trades (.pdf):

“The Institute found eight trades of soft money for hard money, all between the Democratic National Committee and the Texas Democratic Party. In two trades in 1998, the DNC sent $172,500 in soft money to Texas, and the state party sent back $150,000 in hard money. In two trades in 2000, the DNC sent $150,000 of soft money and received $125,000 in hard money. And over a series of four trades in 2002, the DNC gave the state party $255,000 in soft money, and the Texas Democratic Party sent $225,000 in hard money to the DNC.”

Not only that, but former Democratic Congressman Martin Frost perfected the ole soft money, hard money switcheroo, too:

Frost established the Lone Star Fund in July 2000 and raised $282,689 from corporations, individuals and political action committees, according to a 2002 Internal Revenue Service filing. That includes a $75,000 check from Stanford Financial Group, $100,000 from Houston attorney John O’Quinn and a $5,000 donation from Bacardi USA Inc., one of the companies involved in the TRMPAC probe.

The fund then sent at least $92,500 to three national Democratic campaign committees, including the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Each of the aforementioned committees then sent considerable money back to the Texas Democratic Party through donations and direct wire transfers.

In addition, during a period between Oct. 17 and Nov. 25, 2002, the Lone Star Fund also made nine donations to the Texas Democratic Party for a combined $140,566.67...

And Earle knew about this. He just never pursued it. Because, unlike DeLay, Martin Frost was his political kin. Frost was also a victim of big mean Tom DeLay's redistricting.

The more I delve into the hard-to-decipher FEC reports on this, the angrier I get. Money flows back and forth all the time. The amount Earle has targeted DeLay for is practically insignificant, under 200 thousand dollars. Spread out over many candidates. It wasn't even enough money to buy television air time.

It's nearly impossible to look at the facts and conclude that TRMPAC-- and only TRMPAC-- is guilty of wrongdoing.

We need true campaign finance reform in this country, beginning and ending with the elimination of nearly all campaign finance laws. Campaign finance laws are supposed to shield the political process from corrupting influences. Campaign finance laws are supposed to make Americans feel confident that their votes and their voices, in our democracy, are meaningful.

All the laws really do is drive the money further and further underground, forcing candidates and parties and other groups to jump through flaming hoops and hire teams of lawyers just to hopefully comply.

The rules are so arcane and vague and cryptic, so awkwardly enforced, that they invite rampant and creative shenanigans.

Then, liberals are trailblazers, brashly and consistently defying the spirit of the campaign finance laws they've championed (and bankrolled) over the years, essentially creating and defining the rules in the process. Conservatives consequently get in trouble for playing by those rules. In 2004, liberal 527 groups raised and spent 120 million dollars more than similar Republican groups (which were late to the party). They raised so much money through small numbers of mega-chunk contributions from mega-donors like George Soros and Peter Lewis.

Oh, but it's not any of those bloated left-wing groups that gets in trouble. No, it's the relatively small and scrappy-- and genuinely grassroots-- conservative 527 group, The Club For Growth that gets sued by the FEC.

What a sham this whole thing is.

Is it just me, or is this entire thing jaw-droppingly stupid? And infuriating. The more I research this stuff, the more I just steam. mad.gif

Because ultimately, what the DeLay case boils down to is this:

Democrats can't win on their ideas. Not in Texas, and not nationally. This is partly because Democrats rarely, if ever, articulate any actual political ideas; but it's also because the rare times they do articulate ideas, they promote socialism at home and defeatism abroad. Not big winners there with the ole American people.

So Democrats go to plan B, the criminalization of conservatives. It should infuriate you. You should be smashing through walls right now just thinking about it.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Declining Newspaper Circulation.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 October 2005 10:14 AM

Comments

Will, you state that "Liberals brashly break all the rules, and Conservatives get in trouble." Of course you are wrong: The Liberals broke no rules.

That's the whole key to the DeLay persecution: There was no wrongdoing, much less lawbreaking by EITHER side in the transfers of these kinds of funds. A more correctly worded complaint would be that "Liberals make the rules, and Conservatives get in trouble for following them."

The rules are designed to hide what is going on, not to enlighten the public about it. When the public DOES get told what is happening, then the media try to make it sound as if in following the LAW, Conservatives have broken some sort of MORAL boundary...

And as we all know, only Conservatives are held up to THAT high of a standard.

Posted by: Mr. Michael at October 22, 2005 12:58 PM

You're absolutely right, of course, and I could have worded that better. The point is that the left-wing in this country are the trailblazers on these things, every single time. Actually, your wording is so good I am going to go back and edit the post...

Posted by: Will Franklin at October 22, 2005 01:08 PM

If these campaign finance laws are suppose to sheild from corruption??? ...It doesn't look like it is working to well. It seems it has opened the door for individuals like Earle to run a vendetta campaign scam against elected officials in order to run them out of office? Hmmmm... IF attorneys as obvious as Earl are allowed to go after elected officials then there are not going to be many candidates running! Fear of trumped up charges or fear of violating campaign finance laws would be enough to make anyone shy away from politics! Campaign finance Laws really need REFORM!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at October 23, 2005 09:43 AM

Great job Will. You are right, we should all be mad as hell. And you are right on this:

"We need true campaign finance reform in this country, beginning and ending with the elimination of nearly all campaign finance laws."

Posted by: Dan Morgan at October 23, 2005 11:16 AM