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Posted by on Apr 6, 2006 in At TMV | 3 comments

House Passes Measure That’ll Hurt Mostly Democrats

So much for meaningful reform that tries to seriusly fix the system in general. Instead we get yet another demonstration about why one-party rule has proven to be a disaster in terms of authentic problem solving and biparitsan solutions:

The House approved campaign finance legislation last night that would benefit Republicans by placing strict caps on contributions to nonprofit committees that spent heavily in the last election while removing limits on political parties’ spending coordinated with candidates.

The bill passed 218 to 209 in a virtual party-line vote.

So there you have it. How much more of a demonstration of naked voting for political interest do Americans need to conclude: divided government is much better for the country (no matter which party controls the White House). More from the Washington Post:

Lifting party spending limits would aid Republican candidates because the GOP has consistently raised far more money than the Democratic Party. Similarly, barring “527” committees from accepting large unregulated contributions known as “soft money” would disadvantage Democrats, whose candidates enjoyed a disproportionate share of the $424 million spent by nonprofit committees in 2003-2004.

The 527 committees, named for a section of the tax law, are tax-exempt organizations that use voter mobilization and issue-based ads to influence federal elections. They grew in importance after the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law barred federal candidates and national parties from accepting unlimited donations from individuals, unions and corporations.

In 2003-2004, for example, international financier George Soros broke all contribution records by giving a total of $27 million to pro-Democratic groups such as America Coming Together and the Media Fund.

On the other hand, the GOPers do have one point: Soros’ whopping donations skirted the McCain-Feingold act. But what passed in the House is such a lopsiddely partisa exercise in raw power politics that it’s undermines their initial objections and seems to be saying: “We have the votes. See? We can do whatever we want.” And, indeed, the Post says it’s unlikely to pass in the Senate:

Although the measure’s prospects for approval in the Senate are considered slim, House Republicans wanted a vote on what they could describe as “reform” legislation. At the same time, GOP leaders sought to embarrass Democrats by making them vote in apparent support of the use of soft money in federal campaigns.

In other words it was:

— to get something on record for the elections campaign.
— so they could point to something during the campaign saying they are “reformers.”

They are to reformers what Iran’s President is to a rabbi.

UPDATE: Captain Ed disagrees that thinks it’s a step in the right direction and lays out his case (read in full but here’s a small part of it):

I disagree with Joe on this issue. The eruption of 527s did not reform the system at all. Even Joe acknowledges that this offshoot of the BCRA allowed millions of dollars to pour into campaigns from single benefactors such as George Soros. It laughably treated this money as somehow more pure than that going to political parties, even though its use was at least as partisan as any given directly to Democrats. Even worse, it put that money in the hands of people who have no accountability in the political process and allowed the parties and candidates to wash their hands of the messages it produced.

It’s this kind of mischief that occurs when people try to create artificial categories for cash and attempt to impose limits on its collection and usage…