September 20, 2007
Under the Shady Money Tree (Bob Franken)
@ 10:58 am
I get it. The word bundling is really a typographical error. The campaign fundraisers really mean to say they are “BUNGLING” as they raise their questionable contributions. At least, that’s what they’d have us believe: That they merely messed up when they accepted money from tainted sources.
Of course, there’s an alternate view. The skeptic might conclude that the candidates are so obsessed with scrounging every bit of cash they can that their campaign motto is “Money at all cost.”
At the very least, it is a culture driven by a look-the-other-way mentality. That way, when a fundraiser’s criminal past is exposed, it is a “surprise.” Yeah, right.
Even assuming that, the issue of shady financial support is becoming a significant issue for several presidential hopefuls.
It’s not just Hillary, who would love it if the memories of Clinton fundraising shenanigans past could be forgotten. How can they be when we are treated to the ongoing saga of a “Hillraiser” who had been a criminal fugitive for 15 years?
For John Edwards, the news that one of his big supporters is about to to go to prison for scamming the legal system is also a major body blow. This is, after all, the man whose scolding about the political system and the way it’s funded has become a standard part of his stump speech. Isn’t it amazing how those who preach piety always get splattered?
And let’s not forget the self-styled Mr. Wholesome, Mitt Romney. Big-bucks people in his camp have also run afoul of the law.
The list goes on and on. In fact, maybe we should amend the Patriot Act to allow surreptitious surveillance of anyone who raises campaign money. Following the same logic, there is a good enough chance that many of them are suspect that we need to closely monitor all of them.
Aren’t they also a threat to our way of life, because disclosures of shady campaign money will eat away at public confidence in our political system?
Come to think of it, that’s a dumb question. There’s not much confidence left. About the only people who even act surprised when these shenanigans surface are the candidates. No one else is surprised anymore.
What we’ve learned by now is that no matter what reforms we build into our system, someone clever enough will figure a way to beat the new rules. And if you get caught, what’s the big deal? The story will be out there just a day or so, until the media turn to more important matters, like covering O.J. Simpson.