Hillary has seen better days as far as fundraising is concerned. Obama, who receives millions of dollars of donations every day, is out raising her at an alarming rate. The difference is that Obama has a large number of small donations from new donors, while Hillary’s donors have hit the $2,300 ceiling that donors are limited to per election. That $2,300 limit really sucks when you have rich friends, so to get around it, Hillary supporters have started a 527.
A 527 is an independent, tax-exempt organization that is formed to influence elections. These organizations are not regulated by the Federal Elections Commission or state elections commission and don’t have the same contribution limits. That means that Hillary supporters can donate as much as they want to the group. The infamous “Swift Boat” ads that killed Kerry’s presidential campaign were made by a 527 group, Veterans for Truth.
This new 527 group of Hillary supporters is called the American Leadership Project. The group, which encourages its contributors to donate $100,000, is only running ads in the states where Hillary faces competitive primaries.
In the group’s first ad, the television image shows a shuttered factory and a home in foreclosure, and a voiceover says: “If speeches could create jobs, we wouldn’t be facing a recession.” The criticism of “speeches” closely mirrors a line of attack Clinton has used against Obama.
There are some rules and regulations on these 527 groups. “A 527 cannot have as its primary purpose the election of a candidate, and the law limits it to running ads about issues, not ones that plainly advocate for Clinton’s election or defeat. The group cannot have any contact with the Clinton campaign” So, the ads can’t plainly say “vote for Hillary” or “Obama sucks.” However, the group was clearly created for the sole purpose of promoting Hillary’s campaign through unlimited spending. Even the group’s spokesman, Roger V. Salazar, said as much.
“We want to communicate to people where they’re paying the most attention right now. Right now, that’s Ohio and Texas,” he said. “Senator Clinton is a recognized champion of these issues, and we support her positions on health care, the mortgage crisis, the economy, and we say so in the spots. These are positive ads that serve to raise awareness about the issues.”
The Obama campaign sent out an email last week responding to the American Leadership Project in an attempt to get even more donors.
ABC News reports that this group is seeking 100 Clinton supporters to each give $100,000 to fund its $10 million effort to promote Senator Clinton and “contrast” her postions with Barack Obama’s.
That’s the opposite of how politics should work, and the opposite of how Barack Obama has run this campaign.
As far as I’m concerned, 527 groups are a loophole in our political system. They allow wealthy individuals to bypass campaign contribution laws and have disproportionate influence in elections. Without campaign contribution laws, politicians would pander to the wealthy even more than they currently do and completely ignore the problems of the lower and middle class. While Hillary has no “official” connection to this group, it represents dirty politics and is one of the largest problems facing campaign finance today.
Independent Group to Air TV Aids Echoing Clinton Attacks on Obama – [Washington Post]
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