A Giant Charade
- Dale Eisman
Common Cause Decries Candidates' Money Chase
The 2016 presidential campaign has begun with a giant charade, as candidates in both major parties pretend not to be candidates or even to be “testing the waters” for a run and solicit donations they won’t be able to accept once they formalize their candidacies, Common Cause said today.
“First impressions count, and the first impression almost every candidate is making on the American people is built on a lie,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.
“Jeb Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Chris Christie and too many others to list are thumbing their noses at the law and at the voters, pretending not to be running for President as they crisscross the country raising money to pay for their campaigns,” he said.
“Meanwhile the political press for the most part is treating the sorry spectacle as business as usual, and the Federal Election Commission – the designated cop on the beat – is nowhere to be seen.”
Rapoport noted that conducting certain activities to explore a run for office or becoming a formal candidate trigger contribution and source limits. “Those limits were put in place to protect the nation against attempts to buy and sell public office. They are rules most members of the current crop of candidates clearly would prefer to avoid. And thanks to Supreme Court decisions permitting unlimited political spending by corporations and associations, it’s easy to avoid them,” he said.
Rapoport’s comments came amid reports that Gov. Bush has asked donors to limit their checks his Super PAC to $1 million each in this quarter, lest he be viewed as too beholden to what the Washington Post called “a handful of uber-rich supporters.” Meanwhile, Priorities USA Action, the Super PAC fronting for Secretary Clinton’s unannounced campaign, is said to have a fundraising target of $500 million and hopes to round up 30 pledges of at least $1 million each before she declares her candidacy later this year.
“The Presidency is the highest honor Americans can bestow on one of our fellow citizens,” Rapoport said. “It’s sad to see so many of those seeking it next year getting off to such a fictitious start when it comes to fundraising.”