Another McCain-Feingold Triumph!

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How's Hillary Clinton going to recover from her shellacking in Wisconsin? Marc Ambinder has the scoop.

Allies of Hillary Clinton plan an expensive, stealth campaign to buttress her standing in the must-win states of Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania.

They're canvassing Clinton donors for pledges of up to $100,000 in the hope of raising at least $10M by the end of next week. The money will be placed in the account of a political committee organized under section 527 of the tax code.

A hundred large? For the Hillary Clinton campaign? As always I submit to the wisdom of the comment sections: "Organizing this 527 is about as smart as investing your entire nest egg in pets.com."

Two Democrats said that the 527 plans to run television ads and send pro-Clinton literature in all three states. One of the Democrats said that the ads will also include contrast messages against Obama.

Plans for the 527 were conceived in late January, when Clinton's campaign was nearly broke. Since Feb. 5, she has raised nearly $20M, but still faces a resource disadvantage. Obama's aides said they're approaching their goal of raising money from 500,000 new donors since Jan. 1 and project a total haul of more than $35M for February.

As much as I agreed with Obama's decision to laugh off his campaign finance "pledge," I thought there was the nugget of an issue there. It was an example of the candidate/messiah alighting to earth and behaving like those other politicians. But next to Clintonistas creating a slush fund for attack ads? In a party whose members still shiver and vomit when they hear the words "swift" and "boat"? Obama's back to being Mother Theresa.

Also: Just as it's fair to ask Obama and his surrogates what he's ever achieved, it would be fair to start asking McCain why his signature, hard-fought achievement in the Senate has become such a dog's breakfast.

More reason on campaign finance reform.

UPDATE: I was on a Clinton campaign conference call today where Howard Wolfson, her communications director, claimed ignorance of the 527. But! He pointed out that a 527 "spent several million dollars to assist Obama in California," even though Obama criticized John Edward when a 527 aided him in Iowa. "I think it was called Vote Hope," Wolfson winked.

UPDATE: Here's the first ad. Yawn.

NEXT: The Choice

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  1. Dude, pets.com is going to come roaring back any day now, and you’re going to look like an ass. People have pets, you know! You have to feed them and stuff.

  2. …it would be fair to start asking McCain why his signature, hard-fought achievement in the Senate has become such a dog’s breakfast.

    Exactly, except I would have put it this way “Senator, why do you hate America?”

  3. I knew Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was a friend of mine.
    You, Senator Obama, are no Mother Teresa.

  4. They’re canvassing Clinton donors for pledges of up to $100,000

    How is this not illegal? If this isn’t “coordination”, what is?

    Or are they simply planning on violating the law, knowing that there will be no enforcement or penalties until after the election.

    And people worry about Bush’s cavalier attitude toward the law.

  5. What RC Dean said. How the heck are they getting the lists of potential donors – that weed out Obama supporters?

  6. “How is this not illegal?”

    Since when has Hillary cared anything about legality?

    They’re pulling out all the stops to get the nomination and then they’ll worry about the consequences of their actions later.

  7. “Exactly, except I would have put it this way “Senator, why do you hate America?”

    Or “Senator, why don’t you care anything about the Constitution’s guarntee of freedom of speech?”

  8. My brush with pet.com greatness. My former company: Vantagemed was THE worst performing IPO of 2000. We were finally edged out by pets.com

    Now ask me what it’s like to be so mediocre, that we weren’t even the worst, we were second worst.

    Oh, to keep it on topic, Hillary sucks, ‘n stuff.

  9. joe –

    Tell us again about how McCain Feingold has helped remove the pernicious influence of big money on political discourse.

    Maybe we need more draconian restrictions on money and speech?

  10. McCain-Feingold. Best legislation since Gramm-Ruddman-Hollings

  11. jsub, Don’t be ridiculous. This is Hillary we’re talking about. She won’t be influenced by $100k donors! She’s for healthcare for the poor. Influence. Fah!

  12. She won’t be influenced by $100k donors! She’s for healthcare for the poor. Influence. Fah!

    So are her $100k donors. Funny how that works.

  13. jsub, Don’t be ridiculous. This is Hillary we’re talking about. She won’t be influenced by $100k donors! She’s for healthcare for the poor. Influence. Fah!

    My bad. I completely forgot that she was canonized. We need to rewrite McCain-Feingold so it exempts people who are “good”.

  14. What the fuck are you talking about Weigel? How does this implicate McCain/Feingold? If they are not coordinating with the campaign, its probably legal. If they are, its probably not. The law, as most of us interpret it, has always drawn a distinction between the two. Sounds like you are spreading misinformation to jerk the circle around here.

  15. The law, as most of us interpret it, has always drawn a distinction between the two.

    A law congress made, which abridges the right to freedom of speech draws a distinction, as “most of us interpret it”. I know I feel better. Way better.

    When the ACLU has to check with the FEC to make sure it’s speech doesn’t violate a law that congress made, we’ve got a very, very serious constitutional crisis, Bryan.

    A former member of the Federal Election Commission, Scott Thomas, said the [ACLU’s] ads [read: speech] would not meet the standard to be considered an improper donation to a federal campaign. “My gut feeling is that that probably would not be deemed express advocacy,” [emphasis mine] Mr. Thomas said. “It does seem to be done in the context of a legislative battle.”

    Asked about the reference to the November election, Mr. Thomas said,”Obviously, that is a veiled public threat, if you will, that does tie into the election, but I have a feeling you wouldn’t get four votes at the FEC for saying that’s express advocacy.”

    So, what we have are “gut feelings” about how one might interpret the “express advocacy” clause in the McCain-Feingold law.

    The fact that we have to sit around and scratch chins and make broad interpretations about what can and can’t be said during an election is some seriously scary shit.

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