Deep-Sixing 527s

This week the Federal Election Commission sued the Club for Growth, arguing that the group, which supports low taxes and smaller government, should have registered as a political committee and abided by contribution limits during the last election cycle, when it raised $8.5 million through its 527 spinoff. The FEC, which is responding to a complaint from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, suggests that the club's leaders should consider themselves lucky that the commission did not decide to treat it as a corporation, in which case its political speech would have been entirely illegal.

If the FEC's latest interpretation of the law is upheld, it looks like the 527 "loophole" will be closed. And then politics will be clean, the people's faith in government will be restored, and John McCain will be vindicated--unless people who take an interest in politics find some other sneaky way to criticize public officials without running afoul of the government's speech regulations.

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    It's about time we got that pesky little first amendment thing taken care of.

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    WTF?

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    How long before some politician file suit against reason for Hit&Run posts? I mean, most posts are some form of political opinion, and many of us post from work, which can be considered a contribution in the amount a salary wasted.:)

  • ||

    Announcement of Gathering in the DC Area
    This is a thread-jack. If you do not cooperate we will unleash the wrath of Allah on your server!....oh, wait, never mind.

    Anyway, in light of how successful the other gatherings have been, Mr. Nice Guy and I are looking to have a gathering in the DC area, any weekend from Oct. 28 through mid-December.

    Here's how it works:
    -If you're interested, contact me. The address is real if you remove the part about spam.
    -Let me know which weekends you can meet in the DC area. If you aren't sure of your schedule but want to be on the mailing list for the event, just send me an email and I'll keep you in the loop.
    -Most popular weekend wins.
    -I'm fairly new to the area, so if you have a suggested venue, preferably near a Metro stop, let me know that too.

    I'm thinking an evening, preferably a Saturday, but whatever time works for the most people is what we'll do. Mr. Nice Guy and I will try to organize a trip to the shooting range (in Maryland, not DC, obviously) in the afternoon before the event for those who are interested. Both of us live near Metro stations and can probably take in somebody who wants to crash.

    Also, Smacky is coming to DC for a wedding Oct. 14-16. I'm busy that weekend, her schedule with the wedding is kind of busy, and I figure that the shorter notice might not work for those wanting to come from out of town, but if somebody is interested in putting something together, you might want to get in touch with her and see who else is interested.

  • ||

    The most absurd thing about all this idiotic election campaign cracking-down is the fact that while, supposedly, this is all an attempt to separate politics from big money, K-street continues to buy favors and influence legislation directly with dollars. For all McCain's and others' self-righteous posturing about the influence of money, the real place where money buys influence is the "fifth branch of government".

    Campaign financing is, at best, peripheral to the matter of buying political influence, considering that, no matter who gets elected, they will almost undoubtedly dabble in influence peddling with the K-Street leeches. Spend as much money as you want on getting one or the other idiot beaurocrat elected, but the result will be the same: their influence will be purchased by the lobbyist class.

    At the same time, the members of Congress themselves are the true crooks; what's worse, a corporation voluntarily giving a few million of their own dollars to a campaign, or a congressman stealing federal taxpayer dollars and shamelessly funnelling that pork to their home state?

    Meanwhile, in this idiot attempt to scratch the surface of financial influence in politics, our constitutional rights are being raped wholesale. Well, I guess it at least makes it look like they're doing something, eh? Like DOT workers tearing up and repaving a perfectly good road just so they have something to do. Except, here, they're tearing up our constitutional rights, and failing to repave the road.

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    David:

    A la Lenny & Carl, "shhhhhh, shut uuuuup!"

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    Sorry Evan,

    I was just trying to think in the twisted politician way. I may have hurt my head.

    If something as stupid as a fake headline in an advertisement to sell newspapers is legitimate grounds for a Santorum "McCain-Feingold" complaint about contributions, what isn't?

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    Look at the post on the Roberts hearing. We now have a 1st Amendment that protects virtual child porn but does not protect the club for growth's right to criticize government policies. This is freedom?

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    David,

    I don't know about you, but I'm more worried about my posts here being construed as interstate commerce and thus regulated by the appropriate authorities.

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    rafuzo,
    I'm with you.
    It makes sense....some people come to the Reason website just to read H&R....then they read the rest of the site.....then they decide to subscribe to the magazine. Since there are readers in various states, it's "interstate" commerce right? H&R is sure to be regulated.

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    Not to mention the people who buy stuff from carpet-humping guy as a result of coming here... (surely somebody must, right?)

  • Larry A||

    The hilarious part of the whole M/F campaign-finance-reform anti-special-interest-access buying-influence whoo-ha is that it's an attempt by Congress to prevent organizations and individuals from bribing members of Congress.

    Wouldn't it be much easier for the Honorable Members just to refuse the bribes?

    Personally, I think the influence runs the other way. It isn't that who contributes and how much influences a representative's vote. It's that a representative's vote influences who contributes and how much.

    Unfortunately, that's a form of accountability, and Congress wants none of that.

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    the club for growth doesn't support smaller government and lower taxes, just republicans.

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    Larry, it would indeed be easy for the honorable members to refuse the money.

    However, the dishonorable members would then proceed to run the table on them.

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