Obama mocks the FEC regulations with his PAC
by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 07:41:27 AM EST
Is anyone shocked that the Obama campaign re-opened their PAC and started using it to dole out contributions in the early states? If this is not PAC-cynicism of the FEC regulations, nothing is:in recent months, Obama has handed out more than $180,000 from the nearly dormant PAC to local Democratic groups and candidates in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, campaign reports show.
This is a pretty serious issue that Obama is going to have to confront. Maybe it's not a violation of the letter of the law (because since when is the letter enforced?), but it sure is a violation of the spirt of the law-- especially for a candidate that vows to not accept PAC money.
I know we had discussions with Warner's Forward Together PAC about spending it down before the campaign started. Obama is stretching the rule to claim that his presidential campaign and his PAC activities have "no affiliation", especially given that 68% of the PAC's contributions are going toward officials in the states where his is campaigning 80% of the time.
Already on the attack, here's the Clinton PR:Clinton Campaign Responds To New Revelations About Obama Campaign Finance Practices
In response to a report this morning in the Washington Post revealing that Senator Obama's leadership PAC has given the majority of its campaign contributions to officials and committees in the early nominating states, the Clinton campaign released the following statement:
This morning, we learned that Senator Obama has been using his leadership PAC to give political contributions to officials in the early primary states. In fact, 68 percent of contributions from his PAC have gone to those in states that are scheduled to hold nominating contests on February 5th or earlier.
It is our understanding that a candidate's campaign is barred from using the candidate's leadership PAC to benefit his or her campaign which is why we shut down HillPAC when Senator Clinton announced her run for the White House.
On the campaign trail, Senator Obama is outspoken about his desire to reform the campaign finance system so it was surprising to learn that he has been using his PAC in a manner that appears to be inconsistent with the prevailing election laws. Considering how often Senator Obama talks about his efforts to be transparent, we presume he will answer the following questions regarding the behavior of his PAC:
1. Who decided what contributions would be made by Hopefund?
2. Did any presidential campaign staff, consultants or advisors participate in any discussions about Hopefund contributions? Who?
3. Did the decision-makers know who was endorsing the presidential campaign? If so, how did they find this out?
4. Who told Hopefund which Iowa and New Hampshire candidates and committees should get contributions?
5. Are there any overlapping employees, consultants and advisors between Hopefund and the presidential campaign?
6. The Washington Post article suggests that Hopefund was dormant earlier in the year. Who made the decision to start making contributions again and on what basis was that decision made?The FEC will not likely bear teeth on anything that a candidate does with their PAC, but at least one of it's former members speaks the truth, and even Romney's campaign understands the law:"At this stage of the race, for a presidential candidate, it is a brazen effort to use every avenue to influence an election,"Cooper said. "I can't believe the Obama people can keep a straight face and claim these aren't part of the presidential race." .."The federal election laws don't allow you to have a PAC subsidize a campaign. We wanted to make sure we followed the law," Romney spokesman Matt Rhoades said in explaining why the Commonwealth PAC stopped making donations after Romney joined the presidential race.Obama's hopemongering mocks the FEC regulations of campaigns to a new low.