OpinionMeister

Saturday, March 19, 2005

How to Buy a Law

A small group, working out of public sight, spend $123 million to lobby for a pet cause that has little or no support among the electorate. They buy press support, that paints a picture of a mass movement demanding this new law. They support the campaigns of congressmen and senators who support their bill. It is so obviously unconstitutional that nobody is afraid that it will stand up to judicial review, so opposing congressmen, afraid of the wrath of the voters, vote for it, and the president, who opposes it, signs it. Wasn't stuff like this supposed to be wiped out by campaign finance reform. The problem is, this is the story behind the McCain-Feingold law that supposedly reformed campaign financing. It is revealed in a must-read article in the New York Post. Link.
CAMPAIGN-FINANCE reform has been an immense scam perpetrated on the American people by a cadre of left-wing foundations and disguised as a "mass movement."

But don't take my word for it. One of the chief scammers, Sean Treglia, a former program officer of the Pew Charitable Trusts, confesses it all in an astonishing videotape I obtained earlier this week. (...)

Charged with promoting campaign-finance reform when he joined Pew in the mid-1990s, Treglia came up with a three-pronged strategy: 1) pursue an expansive agenda through incremental reforms, 2) pay for a handful of "experts" all over the country with foundation money and 3) create fake business, minority and religious groups to pound the table for reform.

"The target audience for all this activity was 535 people in Washington," Treglia says — 100 in the Senate, 435 in the House. "The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot — that everywhere they looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform." (...)

Treglia's revelations help put in context a report just out from a group called Political Money Line, "Campaign Finance Lobby: 1994-2004," which follows the money behind campaign-finance reform.

That cash, it turns out, was the one thing about the "movement" that was masssive: From 1994 to 2004, almost $140 million was spent to lobby for changes to our country's campaign-finance laws.

But this money didn't come from little old ladies making do with cat food so they could send a $20 check to Common Cause. The vast majority of this money — $123 million, 88 percent of the total — came from just eight liberal foundations.

These foundations were: the Pew Charitable Trusts ($40.1 million), the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy ($17.6 million), the Carnegie Corporation of New York ($14.1 million), the Joyce Foundation ($13.5 million), George Soros' Open Society Institute ($12.6 million), the Jerome Kohlberg Trust ($11.3 million), the Ford Foundation ($8.8 million) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($5.2 million).

This follows the pattern of the left's rejection of democratic politics. They have lost almost every level of elected office, so they turn more and more to unelected judges to pass their laws for them. A few billionaires supplied much of the money spent campaigning for Kerry, while millions donated to the Bush campaign and the 527s that supported him.

There are plenty of reasons to repeal McCain-Feingold, especially its violation of Freedom of Speech and its shifting of power from the political parties to private groups like the 527s. We now have a further reason that the campaign that passed it was a total sham.

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