Prosecute the torture.

February 9, 2012

Another Trib Blurb, Another Bit Of Disinformation

From today's Thursday Wrap:
The New York Times says the Obama administration will "dispatch Cabinet officials" and "senior advisers at the White House" to urge campaign donors to support Priorities USA Action, the Democrats' top "super PAC." So, why isn't the Federal Election Commission investigating the administration for clearly violating the Hatch Act and laws against campaigns coordinating efforts with "independent" political action committees?
As with everything else dripping off of the Trib's editorial page, once you dig into the story, you'll see that Scaife's braintrust either doesn't do its homework or it doesn't expect you to.
Here's the Times article they reference:
President Obama is signaling to wealthy Democratic donors that he wants them to start contributing to an outside group supporting his re-election, reversing a long-held position as he confronts a deep financial disadvantage on a vital front in the campaign.

Aides said the president had signed off on a plan to dispatch cabinet officials, senior advisers at the White House and top campaign staff members to deliver speeches on behalf of Mr. Obama at fund-raising events for Priorities USA Action, the leading Democratic “super PAC,” whose fund-raising has been dwarfed by Republican groups. The new policy was presented to the campaign’s National Finance Committee in a call Monday evening and announced in an e-mail to supporters.
So far so good.  But when you look at what the FEC (that would be the Federal Election Commission) has to say about the limits of SuperPAC "coordination" you'll find something that the braintrust decided not to tell you.  This is from 2011, by the way:
On June 30, the Commission issued an advisory opinion concluding that, under section 441(e) of the Act, federal officeholders and candidates and officers of national party committees remain subject to amount limitations and source prohibitions when they solicit contributions on behalf of the PACs. For this reason, federal candidates and officeholders and officers of national party committees may solicit contributions up to $5,000 from individuals and federal political committees on behalf of the PACs. The Commission further concluded, consistent with current Commission regulations, that federal officeholders and candidates and officers of national party committees may attend, speak at and be featured guests at fundraisers at which unlimited individual, corporate and labor organization contributions are solicited to make contributions to the PACs, so long as they restrict any solicitation they make to funds subject to the limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the Act. [emphasis added]
But, as I said, this was from June of 2011 and it's from a guv'ment website no less so maybe the braintrust couldn't find it or didn't see it or or did find it but chose not to look at it because they were afraid the guv'ment will know they looked and send the silent unmarked UN helicopters to get them.

Who knows?

Either way, the Tribune-Review purports to be a news organization.  Either they knew what the FEC wrote or they should have.  If they didn't, they're lousy at collecting news and if they did (and that would mean they chose not to tell you) then they're lousy at being honest.

Doncha just love the law of the excluded middle?

2 comments:

Joy said...

As explained on NPR, the coordination clause only applies to how the money is spent, not how it is brought in. That is, there can be no coordination on advertising or campaign strategy planning, but they can (apparently) share donor lists. Furthermore, people in government who are not "on" the campaign, even if they are upper level government officials, are in no way barred from working with the PAC rather than the campaign on strategy. The gutting of the rules on what constitutes coordination are, if anything, the biggest story in the Citizens United decision. It stinks--but like Steven Colbert, the Obama administration is making a point of pointing out how blatantly bad the situation is, rather than trying to hide it. I think they should get props for NOT brushing it under the rug, and for instead rubbing our noses (and the supreme court's noses) in this stupidity. It might even help get bipartisan support for an amendment-level fix to the "corporations are people and campaign money is speech" situation.

Winding down said...
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