Thursday, October 18, 2007

Personal Aside: Oh, Dear—Another Political Fund-Raising Scandal?

Bundling is Bad.

In the bygone Puritan days of the colonies, a young man would call on a young woman in her family’s log cabin in the dead of winter—and they would be swiftly put to bed by her parents. Huh? The fireplaces were insufficient to provide heat—and so the parents would plop the young people in the same bed with their clothes on and ensure that a good number of pillows and comforters were between them so they could converse without being chilly while the family joined in the conversation. The entirely chaste courtship was called “bundling.” Nary a single scandal or loss of honor was caused by this bundling.

A modern description of “bundling” is, if carried out legally, equally non-corruptive. But it involves something far different. There is a definite limit of monies you can give a presidential candidate in one electoral cycle. It used to be $1,000 but now is $2,300. The name of the game is to volunteer to be a “bundler”—convincing your friends and business associates to kick in the $2,300 with you bundling up all the contributions into one package and getting credit for your work with the presidential or senatorial candidate. If there is no secret reimbursement…employers sneaking payments back to employees for example…it’s entirely kosher.

Bundling came about just as limits in donations did through regulations from liberals that deprive the electorate of expressing their wishes. And that is because misnamed reformers in Common Cause and the editorial board of “The New York Times” do not respect the power of complete disclosure. The best campaign finance reform is always the disinfecting power of sunshine.

If, say, I choose to run against Don Rose for a post and vested industrialists give me a load of money…and I have to disclose the amount at the end of every 12 hour period…every organ of news media from Rich Miller’s “Capitol Fax” to the three major daily newspapers that cover politics here plus my opponent, Mr. Rose, would have ample opportunity to assail me as the unregenerate tool of industry. Likewise if Don Rose got a sizable amount from say organized labor or Personal PAC, I would have the same option. That is the only true and effective route to campaign finance reform. Arbitrary limits only defile the 1st amendment and provide a sleazy conduit to corruption…people finding ways to circumvent the system, slipping cash dollars that are not recorded and all that sort of thing.

Unfortunately when John B. Anderson, God’s Angry Man who resembled an Old Testament prophet, co-wrote the 1974 campaign reform bill as a route to gain publicity for a future national effort, he…along with Ab Mikva…wrenched the meaning out of the 1st amendment. Gene McCarthy and Jim Buckley, an odd duo, got the Supreme Court in “Buckley vs. Valeo” to declare that a limitation on campaign donations was an abrogation of free speech. Anderson was hoisted by his own petard later as a presidential candidate when he confronted multi-millionaires who wanted to fund his race but could only give him $1,000 apiece. But because he wanted to Stand Tall in Georgetown…i.e. with the liberal community…John Anderson never fully came to grips with his own diabolic formula. The same way with John McCain who was trying to eradicate the stench of his having been one of the Keating Five. Only McCain’s bill went too far—preventing citizens from spending money to defeat federal candidates within 30 days of election…allowing the newspapers free rein. You realize why the “New York Times” loved the idea—it was the Drive By Media’s Monopoly Act of 2002. George W. Bush signed it—a rash act calculated to put him on the side of the “reformers” for 2004.

Strangely, “The Wall Street Journal” has always been the vehicle for sensible analysis between the differences of true reform…which is full and prompt disclosure…and misnamed reform which is restrictions on the 1st amendment. Its editorial page has continued in that pristine fashion. But editorial pages do not control the news pages—and the “Journal/s” front page piece yesterday conveyed a straight-from-the-Left précis: “Donor Bundling Emerges as Major Ill in `08 Race.” A major ill. The only major ill was that Norman Hsu, a big donor to Hillary Clinton, violated the arbitrary, foolish restrictions of misnamed campaign “reform” to fake bundling with people who were privately reimbursed.

How long will it take for liberals to understand that the more restrictions they place on free giving with disclosure, the more innovative ways will be devised to allow people to give as much money as they want? Which means that this country should encourage one final attempt at campaign finance reform…which should be:

To allow all Americans to give to the limit to any candidate or candidates they choose with the proviso that within the 12 hour deadline of giving, their contribution will be listed on the Internet.


  1. If I am wrong on this I know Tom will make a correction as he recounts the history of Eugene McCarthy. In 1968 when McCarthy challenged Johnson for president, he was funded by a group of about 3 multi-millionaires including Stewart Mott, heir to GM money. If present day campaign financing had been in effect McCarthy could not have made his challenge. The millionaires would have only been able to give a thousand or two and there just would not have been enough money to challenge a sitting president across the country. Without that challenge perhaps we would not have had the Vietnam debate which I think was needed at that time.
    I disagree with Tom on his proposed 12-hour rule. Having worked on some campaigns I think this would be an unnecessary burden. I think full disclosure with a week would be workable and just as effective.

  2. Tom when you pick a scandal why pick Scandal number 99076565674?

    How about 3Com to the Communist Chinese arranged by the company owned by our favorite Morman for Pres, and Goldman Sachs?

    How about the credit market flop and crapping of the US Dollar?

    How about the failure of the Neo-con globalist dreams leading industrial states into higher taxes and democratic arms.

    But then old frumpy Humphrey and Scandal number 9736459402075 is a better topic?

    Come Come Tom you can do better than this!

  3. Cold, Calculating, Conniving, witchy,
    a john power's naughty word that rhymes with itcy........ Hillary the non-cookie making feminist dumped Socks the cat! This is a scandal as she tried with all the Liberal Jewish help she can muster to show that she is now a good Christian! Thank you Mr. Bernstein!

    But what about Socks, the cat? It shows she is the same wicked broom rider that she always was! Poor kitty! And we should believe Mr. Berstein? NO WAY!

    To think that there are a lot of women just eager to vote for her.... I knew we should have denied women the vote!

    Just imagine: EIGHT YEARS OF HILLERY
    Now THATS a scandal!