Source: Miami Herald
Thanks to the Supreme Court, we now have the ability to create something called a Super Pac. That’s the type of organization that pours any amount of money into any election and does so anonymously. Stephen Colbert has attempted to make a joke out of it by selling a Super Pac Startup Kit in the mail, but he needn’t have bothered. Josue Larose pretty much has that sewn up.
You probably aren’t familiar with his name, but Larose is famous in certain circles. He’s the “go to” for right wingers who want to influence elections. Because of the secrecy surrounding Super Pacs, no one knows exactly how many he’s started up for other people, but it is probably in excess of 600.
Think about that number for a moment. That’s at least a dozen per state. Since each Pac can handle unlimited funds, you have to ask yourself, just how much “private” money is he responsible for? And how much difference does he make, not just in federal elections, but the state, county, and even local ones? And then ask: how in the world can you fight something like that?
Personally, I don’t have any answers, yet. If you do, please pass them along so that I can share them with the rest of the country. It just goes to show you how much difference one Poody Head can make…
There’s often a hue and cry by the voters to “throw them all out” each election day, as people get fed up with political insiders thinking only of themselves. The reason this doesn’t happen is two-fold: (1) while politicians in office have access to tons of advertising money from PACs, people running against them have to scrap up enough funds just to travel from area to area just to talk with voters. And, then there’s (2) — unfortunately when voters say “throw them all out”, they mean everyone except their personal favorite politician. So nothing changes.
At least, that’s the way it’s been. According to The Washington Post, there might be a new way to solve an old problem: there’s now a PAC that, instead of spending money to get a new politician into office, is using its funds for the sole purpose of getting rid of incumbents. Even more surprisingly, party affiliation doesn’t matter.
The group’s enemy is incumbency — of any ideological stripe, anywhere in the country. The Campaign for Primary Accountability, founded by the son of a Houston construction magnate, is targeting longtime incumbents in House districts that are otherwise safe for their party. Group leaders say these long-term lawmakers who face scant competition have created a “permanent political class” that has poisoned politics.
The CPA is a super PAC, which means that it can raise unlimited funds and spend them any way they wish — you know, one of the very beasts that sprang up to forever alter politics after the SCOTUS Citizens United decision. And they are spending money, tons of it. But not blindly. Although well-funded, the PAC could never hope to fight every incumbent race. First it looks for politicians whose voting records are the most egregiously self-serving. Then, as sometimes happens, if the race is between two old-time insiders, CPA fights against the worst of the two, knowing that the one that remains can be thrown out in four years.
Of course this one PAC is not going to make a dent in the plethora of self-serving, corporate-based money machines that are trying to take over the government. But it is a beginning. And it does offer hope that there is a way to tame the beast SCOTUS unleashed before it devours us all. All it is going to take is enough people (rich people included) who are willing to do what is most right, instead of what is most profitable. At least that takes care of reason (1) for incumbency. Reason (2) is going to take a massive re-education of the public on exactly what our lords and masters have done with their time in harness.
President Obama used to believe that PAC money was a “threat to democracy.” Now that Republicans have shown him the damage Super PACs can do to an opponent, he’s decided he’s all for them. Obama ran his first campaign on small donations, but Democrats are scrambling now to re-activate the big-money network.
The leading Democratic super PACs raised just a quarter of the money in 2011 that their Republican counterparts did, sparking fears among Democrats that Mr. Obama and his party’s Congressional candidates would be swamped by outside spending. Many of the largest donors so far to the Democratic super PACs are veterans of the Clinton fund-raising machine or Americans Coming Together, an independent expenditure group that raised $200 million in a failed effort to unseat George W. Bush in 2004.
Word around Washington is that the party’s top donors were happy that the President wants their cash. They feel it gives them more leverage with the White House.
“This is the strongest signal that the campaign has ever sent,” said [a top Democrat], who was granted anonymity to characterize private discussions. “With the folks who are newer to political giving, the system they grew up knowing is a candidate saying, ‘No, I’m not interested in that.’ ”
But some deep-pocket donors are less thrilled. They’re threatening to withhold money until the POTUS changes his positions on Israel, his criticism of Wall Street and private equity firms, and his administration’s approach to environmental regulation.
This decision plunges his campaign into new legal territory. The White House wants officials to appear at Super PAC events with donors. That reflects a change in campaign law following the Citizens United decision. Although Federal Election Commission rules still prohibit candidates from directly requesting donations in amounts greater than $5,000, politicians are busy finding ways around those rules. I have no doubt they’ll succeed. If there’s anything Washington is good at, it’s finding a way around its own ethics rulings.
President Obama is famous for his refusal to allow PACs and/or Super PACs to campaign for him. PAC money was a “threat to democracy.” At least he was famous for that. Now he’s even more famous for changing his mind on the subject. He must have found a washing machine somewhere, because that evil, dirty money doesn’t seem so bad these days. Democrats are scrambling, trying to re-activate the liberal, big-money network that has lain fallow since 2004.
Money, money, money – it’s all that poody heads really care about. Well, that and the power it can buy…