Friday, August 05, 2011

A New Tool In The Kit

The Citizens United case has really made a huge difference in campaign finance, a difference that both major parties have cheerfully exploited. By allowing corporations to make huge donations, those far beyond what are allowed individual donors, the case makes it easier for candidates to quickly snap up huge amounts of cash without much effort.

The Supreme Court decision, which I consider absurd on its face and tortured in its logic, opened the door to the potential for abuse and we might have just been handed the first clear-cut example of that abuse.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Federal Elections Commission records show that $1 million was given to Restore Our Future, a so-called super PAC backing Romney, by W Spann LLC. Under the law, corporations can now give such donations.

However, NBC News reported Thursday that the firm was incorporated only in March, made the donation in April and was dissolved on July 11, just before the super PAC was required to disclose donations.

Given the time line, the only inference which can be drawn is that the "corporation" was a dummy shell, created solely to slip Romney a cool million to his already bloated war chest. Pretty tricksy, eh?

Perhaps just a tad too tricksy, at least I hope so.

While federal election law permits corporations to donate to super PACs, it prohibits the use of conduits to conceal the identity of actual donors. That could lead to an official inquiry by the FEC or the Justice Department.

"There is FEC precedent to conduct an investigation to determine if this corporation used it own funds to make a contribution --- which would be legal after Citizens United -- or whether the corporation was just a conduit for a person or persons who did not want to disclose their identity," said Brett Kappel, an election lawyer at Arent Fox law firm in Washington.
[Emphasis added]

Of course, even if the FEC opens such an investigation, it is unlikely that the investigation will be completed and the predictable law suit resolved before the 2012 election, much less before the GOP convention. It is also unlikely that Mitt Romneywill return the money (where would he send it?) although he could score some major integrity points if he did.

This is what we can expect for as long as the Citizens United decision stands.

All that dry powder accumulated during the 110th Congress is emitting a deadly odor at this point.

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Blogger Paula said...

PU, Mitt!

9:39 AM  

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