Thursday, October 18, 2007

Unintended consequences

According to the Wall Street Journal, the passage of McCain-Feingold somehow didn't remove money from politics:
WASHINGTON -- The bundling of political donations once was an innocuous play in the game book of Washington political operatives. Now, the fund-raising practice has grown so widespread, and some of its practitioners so brazen, that bundling has become the chief source of abuse in the American campaign-finance system.

The strange case of Norman Hsu, the textile-importer-turned-fugitive who cobbled together $800,000 in contributions for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, is the tip of the iceberg. Candidates for offices from county commissioner to U.S. president are increasingly turning to bundlers -- individuals who ask friends, family and business associates for contributions to their candidate of choice -- to help bring in the tremendous amounts of cash now needed to wage political campaigns.....

In this high-pressure, low-disclosure environment, the practice has increasingly evolved into a method for disguising illegal donations. In several cases already this year, campaign bundlers have admitted to making contributions in the names of others to get around caps, or coercing employees to give.

The natural result of passing a complex new law is the creation of complex new ways to get around that law.

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