We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Soros

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Last night the House of Representatives passed the 527 Reform Act by a 218-209 vote. The bill raises the cap on individual donations to the political parties to $25,000, while cutting off the amount they can give to 527 groups—formerly an unlimited amount—at $5,000. You'll notice that the bill won the vote of noted reform advocate Tom DeLay (R). That's because the law was written to neuter Democrat-friendly groups like America Coming Together and MoveOn.org, who been collecting hearty donations from millionaires (like conservative Goldstein figure George Soros) to go after Republicans. It's also going to kneecap groups like the Club for Growth and the (still extant) Swift Boat Veterans, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a few international Jewish financiers.

As the Washington Post notes, the Democrats who voted against the bill were supported by Americans for Tax Reform and the Free Congress Foundation. Eighteen Republicans also voted no, including leaders of the Republican Study Committee like Mike Pence and failed majority leader candidate John Shadegg. (Nine pro-"reform" Democrats saved the day by voting with DeLay et al.)

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  1. My Congressman voted against this non-sense. I should send him an e-mail.

  2. The one reason I will never vote for McCain, even if it is him against Hillary, is this nonsense.

    I wish my representatives would read the fucking constitution.

  3. Kwais:

    By “this nonsense”, I presume that you mean the BCFRA as a whole, and not just the 527 reform act. If I presume correctly, I second that. I wouldn’t care if that motherfucker saved my life…until he renounces the BCFRA and gets down on his hands and knees and begs us all for forgiveness, he can go to hell.

  4. The bill raises the cap on individual donations to the political parties to $25,000, while cutting off the amount they can give to 527 groups – formerly an unlimited amount – at $5,000.

    Oh yeah, that’ll work

  5. I’m souring on McCain because of his recent pandering to Jerry Falwell. Looks like his stock is dropping.

  6. Maybe with enough legislation they can get rid of all corruption, and all self interest, our bureaucratic overlords will be able to regulate us into bliss.

  7. The one reason I will never vote for McCain, even if it is him against Hillary, is this nonsense.

    I think this is an excellent way to show that you feel this strongly about this issue. Others should follow your example.

  8. JP:

    Yeah, wiping his ass with the Bill of Rights…eh, who cares?

    But giving a speech at Liberty University’s commencement ceremony? That’s unforgivable!

  9. You know, I really like John McCain. I even contributed to his effort in 2000. I think he is a man of integrity and good will.

    Too bad he is simply wrong. He completely fails to uphold the doctrine of limited powers and the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. I can’t find it in me to hate him, so it just makes me sad.

  10. Didn’t McCain have a child by a black woman?

  11. Anyone care to guess what the next unregulated outlet for free speech will be? 527s were the answer to M-F. What will be the answer to this?

    Dare we hope that the two new additions to SCOTUS might be able to read the Constitution?

  12. Anyone care to guess what the next unregulated outlet for free speech will be?

    I like Hit and Run. They let me speak my mind quite freely here.

  13. My Congressman voted against this non-sense. I should send him an e-mail.

    My Congressman (Rep. Pitts – Republican) voted for this non-sense. I should send him a few e-mails.

  14. Dave W.

    They? Who are they?

  15. When did John McCain join the House of Representatives?

  16. Dare we hope that the two new additions to SCOTUS might be able to read the Constitution?

    Since O’Connor was the swing vote in McConnell v. FEC, I’m hopeful.

  17. When did John McCain join the House of Representatives?

    We piss on Senator McCain whenever campaign finance issues come up, due to his spearheading of McCain-Feingold. Try to keep up. 😉

  18. How long before somebody establishes a 528 and the whole game goes on as before?

    I predict that this law will increase the amount of red tape without decreasing the amount of money spent to elect crooks to positions of power.

  19. MP:

    I figured as much, but I felt like being prickish. McCain is a douchebag and all that, but why is Feingold getting a free pass in this thread?

  20. Thoreau:

    and I predict that the sun will set tonight. I think the odds of our predictions are very close…

  21. They? Who are they?

    John McCain and Russell Feingold and the people who pay them to regulate the things they do in the way they do.

  22. Evan-

    If you turn out to be right, you should get, like, a prize for astronomy or something, man!

    Did I ever tell you guys about the time that I accidentally discovered the sun? The window shade in the lab wasn’t quite completely closed. I was doing an optical experiment. I thought I had aligned the optics and baffles and everything to prevent stray light. Well, I was wrong. I kept getting this strange signal. Finally I figured out that it was the sun. That was actually the day that an astrophysicist friend was visiting me and hanging out in the lab. We joked that we should write a paper and call it “Detection of a star of approximately 1 solar mass in the vicinity of earth.”

  23. That’s okay, if the President vetoes it they won’t have the votes to override.

    Hey! Why are you all laughing at me?!?!?!?!

  24. “I think this is an excellent way to show that you feel this strongly about this issue. Others should follow your example.”

    Are you being sarcastic

  25. There was an interesting and, I think, relevant recent article by Tim Harford in Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2138874/?nav=fo) regarding the surprisingly small amount of money spent on lobbying. Surprising from a purely pre-reflective economic perspective, that is.

    Campaign Finance Reform, aka unconstitutional restrictions on political speech, is a straightforward public choice gambit — Congress pretends to “protect itself from being bought by special interests” when in reality all it is doing is furthering the already too great advantage of incumbency.

  26. Full disclosure: I worked for the Federal Election Commission in 1988. I lasted all of 6 months. The experience put me firmly on the path of libertarianism and against all this bullshit restrictions on campaign finance.

    Let the market uncover who gives how much to whom and let voters decide if they want to vote for Congressman ?Marlboro? or Senator ?General Motors?.

  27. No, I truly want you to do as you say here (should the occasion arise). I truly want everybody who feels as strongly as you to do the same. I am saying what I mean.

    I voted for a 3rd party candidate myself in 2004. Honest injun.

  28. I can’t figure out if “So No Sarcasm” is being ironic.

  29. I’m really not. I think that Kwais feels strongly about the wrong issue. But my issue is that I don’t like the grip political parties as they exist now in the US. Anybody who votes against their affiliation, or even against their expected pattern (I don’t know Kwais affiliation, but he made it clear how he would be expected to vote), does a margin of damage to the whole parrtisan thing that I so detest. I don’t care what issue takes one out of the grip of U.S. partisan politics. For me the bigger deal is that Kwais is saying he has the courage to break the pattern he is expected to follow.

  30. McCain loves campaign finance laws… unless he’s the one running.

    From The Hill today:

    House Republican leaders have struck a deal with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to eliminate restrictions on coordination between national parties and federal candidates, a change in the law that would be of great benefit to the winner of the 2008 GOP presidential primary, according to congressional sources.

    Republican and Democratic campaign-finance experts alike believe the change would be a boon to McCain’s campaign, if he wins his party’s nomination in three years, an outcome that political handicappers are beginning to view as a real possibility.

    The House voted yesterday to attach legislation eliminating the coordination restriction to a bill limiting the activities of the soft-money groups known as 527s. The groups are named after a section of the tax code and are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities. The resulting campaign-finance package narrowly passed the House yesterday evening.

  31. Well, I generally feel strongly on freedom. I don’t like being told what to do, and I don’t like people taking something of mine against my will.

    Other than those generalizations;
    I feel strongly about the first ammendment, as in McCain/Feingold and the 527 crap. Not because I own enough money to do anything, but one day I would like to.

    I also feel strongly about the 2nd Ammendment, and I do own a lot of guns. (if 17 is a lot)

    I don’t car too much about the wiretapping thing, because I always assume that someone is listening to me.

  32. I just wrote to my rep, Leach -R. I told him to go track down Ron Paul to figure out how to vote on such things.

  33. I feel strongly about the first ammendment, as in McCain/Feingold and the 527 crap. Not because I own enough money to do anything, but one day I would like to.

    Do you think it should be legal to bribe a government official? Does it even make sense to use an ugly term like “bribery” in the context of giving money to politicians?

  34. I should be able to spend money to speak my feelings about any polititian before an election, and put it on tv and radio.

  35. Nobody has commented on the blatant role reversals for partisan gain. Suddenly the Democrats are for free speech and the Republicans want to stamp out the corrupting influence of money on politics.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked, simply shhhhhh…zzzzzzzz……..

  36. The Democrats got their “campaign finance reform” bill passed before the last election, and now they see the fruit of their efforts. More stupidity.

    Ron Paul voted against, of course.

  37. “I figured as much, but I felt like being prickish. McCain is a douchebag and all that, but why is Feingold getting a free pass in this thread?”

    Good question. I think part of it is that McCain shows signs of intelligence and integrity on other issues despite being completely wrong about this. For that reason, it is very disapointing that McCain is so behind this. In contrast, everyone knows Feingold is a nanny state asswipe and would expect him to be for something this stupid.

    We now live in a world where virtual child pornography is protected under the 1st Amendment but political speech is subject to strict regulation and government approval.

  38. I should be able to spend money to speak my feelings about any polititian before an election, and put it on tv and radio.

    That sounds nice. Let’s ask a different way: I want to give a politician money to give favorable consideration to my causes when she votes on stuf. Should I have the freedom to do that?

  39. Should I have the freedom to do that?

    Yes, Dave, you should. You know very well that the standard for bribery involves a exchange of an explicit favor. Implicit favoritism is the nature of politics.

  40. You know very well that the standard for bribery involves a exchange of an explicit favor.

    Now why would you want to pee on my freedom to buy an explicit favor? I earned that money. I want that favor. Your position seems anti-freedom to me.

  41. “I don’t car too much about the wiretapping thing, because I always assume that someone is listening to me.”

    Sigh. Remember when we used to puff our chests out and pity Soviet citizens for having to live under such assumptions?

  42. Now why would you want to pee on my freedom to buy an explicit favor? I earned that money. I want that favor. Your position seems anti-freedom to me.

    c’mon Dave, you really don’t expect me (or anyone here) to get into a debate about the merits of bribery legislation, do you?

  43. Quasi:

    and note the piecemeal support of the first ammendment. don’t mind people listening in (and presumably acting on info, as desired), but being “pro #1”

    sorry – i see that as a “my type of freedom, not your type” of contradiction.

  44. Dave W,

    You actually make a good point, though too bad you have to play games rather than just come out and say it. It’s true, bribery laws are probably not consistent with absolute freedom. But so what?

  45. MP:

    My question was for Kwais. He is free to answer or not. I am genuinely curious about how far his vision of freedom of contract extends. As you know, I am having trouble seeing a real difference between campaign contributions and bribery.

    I know about the “for an explicit favor” / “not for an explicit favor” distinction from here and other places. To me it seems like a distinction without a difference, at least in the case of large contributions. But what I really wanted to know was what Kwais thinks because he is basically becoming a single issue voter on this. I like the passion and think it might belie a deeper understanding than I have been able to get.

    btw, I am somewhat open to the idea that there should be no such thing as bribing a politician. At least it is a more transparent process that way, and the results wouldn’t be different than the current system. Jello suggested a similar thing in 1978. Garth also did on this thread. So you may want to hold off on them Viking Kitties. Being undecided I want to hear lots of opinions on this stuf. Mostly Kwaises’

  46. My Passion,

    The issue that upsets me is the one of campaign contributions. I did not aim to tacle the bribery issue, and whether or not it is wrong for a politician to accept a bribe.

    However, I think that there should be no limit to the amount of money I can spend on political speech. (Or any other speech.)

    If a particular buisness is being hurt by a politicians actions, and that buisness generates a lot of money for the community, but the incumbant and the local press benefit from regulation that limits that buisness. The buisness should have the right to put out their side of the issue.

    I don’t see how spending a trillion dollars of my own money to fund the campaign of the politician that I agree with, or that agrees with my buisness is bribery.

    I think the best idea is to limit the power of a politician to inflict upon others or to rob others is the best technique. I think that the best way to get a good deal of the “bribery” out of politics would be to reform the tax code.

    I think if you make impossible for a polititian to give someone other peoples money, then that someone wouldn’t be able to bribe them for such.

    I hope I am writing somewhat clearly, I am without sleep for a while and I haven’t been in the fray of ideas for a while.

  47. Once again, Jeff Flake of AZ shows he’s a man who takes his oath of upholding the constitution seriously. I’m not saying he’s voted “correctly” on every single thing, but almost every time I look, he’s doing a great job.

    He is a Mormon, but as long as he keeps voting the way I’d like to see pretty much every pol voting, he gets a thumbs up from me.

    Too bad I don’t think he’s running again.

  48. “Sigh. Remember when we used to puff our chests out and pity Soviet citizens for having to live under such assumptions?”

    There was a time when I heard strange noises on my phone, and I asked a hacker type if he thought that I was being wiretapped. And his response was “only by a real amateur if you can tell”

    He also told me that every citizen that transmits unencrypted electronic media should expect that someone is listening in. Mostly companies and such.

    And sometimes people from the government. If they have the ability and they do, you might be have a chance that they can’t use an illegal wiretap against you in a court of law. But to expect that the law will prevent them from listening in on you is extremely naive.

  49. Your answer is helpful to me kwais and thanks for taking the time.

  50. Just to take this a little further…so the Italian model is sort of a mediatopia. Berlusconi owns and directly controls either two or three of the major tv networks (I can’t remember which), and it’s party-line all the time or you are fired. In fact, if you speak in the wrong tone of voice, you get shit-canned. He has more money, see, therefore he is entitled to more free speech.

    It’s kind of cool that there is a place where we see the $$$=super special free speech thing in its natural habitat. It’s so cute a fuzzy.

    And here I was hung up on the wiretap thing…silly me.

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