by John Hawkins | August 30, 2007 8:51 am
If you want to see how simultaneously overreaching and simultaneously toothless our campaign finance laws are, this article does a good job of showing you,
The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle’s biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.
America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.
The group’s big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.
The settlement, which the FEC approved unanimously, is the third largest enforcement penalty in the commission’s 33-year history.
So, a PAC that raised $137 million dollars, a PAC that’s supported by a couple of billionaires, is fined $775,000, 3 years after the fact for breaking the law.
What does it mean? It means that if you’re small, you have to mind your p’s and q’s, because you may not be able to handle the repercussions of breaking the arcane, poorly written, and hard to define campaign finance laws that we have in this country.
However, it also means that if you have enough money, you can break campaign finance laws with impunity because the election will be over before they crack down on you and the fine will be so small that it will be practically irrelevant.
When it comes to campaign finance laws, there’s a rich man’s justice and a poor man’s justice and neither of them does a good job of being fair, “keeping the money out of politics,” or respecting the tradition of political free speech we have in this country.
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