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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Money donations

Apparently, I'm comparing apples and steaks (does that mean I am the steak?). Let's see what we have.

The spouse of a Democrat running for the House made a contribution to the House DFL Caucus.

The spouse of a Republican running for the House made a contribution to the House Republican Campaign Committee.

So far, so good. Seems to be the same thing.

But then MDE says that the Democratic donation is "fishy." He has no proof of collusion. No proof that any laws were broken. Nothing like that at all.

He says it is "fishy." You know what I call it? Good money management.

Say your spouse is running for the House, and for whatever reason (you've reached the limits, you can't make that kind of donation, etc.) you can't contribute directly to your spouse's campaign. You've got a lot of money laying around, though, and you want to influence the election. Because the race is competitive, you know the House DFL Caucus (or HRCC) will be putting money into it, so if you donate to them, there's a good chance some of the money will come back to help your spouse.

It's legal, it's acceptable, and it makes perfect sense. Just like doubling down on an 11 in Blackjack, you are making the most out of your money.

But according to MDE, this is somehow wrong. So I have a few questions to ask him.

If it is wrong, how should the law be changed?
Should spouses be disallowed from making soft money donations?
If they do donate, should the receiving organization be banned from spending money on that race?
Does the amount matter? Does the timing of the contribution matter?

Republicans must really be fishing for things if this is the best they can come up with. And that whole "saying everybody else does it too isn't a defense" is a crock. These are the campaign finance laws we have, so of course all sides are going to take advantage of them. If an American League coach is philosophically against the DH, would he be wise to put his pitcher in the batting order, so he's not using the "everybody else does it because it is allowed" defense?

Nobody has any evidence that Shawn Otto wrote at the bottom of his check, "This is for my wife's campaign ONLY!" No evidence of any e-mails, phone calls, letters, meetings, or telegrams showing collusion between Otto and anybody else. No laws were broken. Nothing was done wrong.

I may think that the way we fund campaigns stinks, but I'm not going to say that one side can't use the law to its advantage when the other side does all the time.

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