The Bush/Clinton Super PAC Shuffle
Jeb Bush: “Look, I hope I run, to be honest with you. I’d like to run, but I haven’t made the decision.”
Maybe he thinks we’ll all just ignore his gaggle of high-paid public policy advisors and jam-packed tours of key early primary states like New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.
Hillary Clinton: “We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all.”
Couldn’t possibly be the same Hillary Clinton who is now widely considered to be the first Democratic candidate to formally embrace her Super PAC, could it?
The name-brand candidates of the 2016 election are dancing the Super PAC Shuffle. Why? Just follow the money:
As soon as Bush declares he is running for president, he’s subject to campaign finance laws governing how he and his Super PAC coordinate their unlimited fundraising.
As long as he pretends he might not run, they’re free to collaborate and raise any amount of money from just about anyone. When he officially announces his candidacy, rules that separate him from his Super PAC apply, and the party is over.
“I’m running for president in 2016, and the focus is going to be about how we, if I run, how do you create high sustained economic growth”— Jeb Bush
So Bush is collecting as much money, as fast as he can, until the clock runs out. And it’s working great! His Right to Rise PAC is on track to raise $100 million. That’s more money, faster, than any other Republican enterprise in modern history.
The only hiccup in this unregulated fundraising fest: Bush had to actually ask his uber-donors not to give too much all at once—no more than a million at a time please (yes, that’s the actual figure)—because it “looks bad.”
Unlike those Republican “scoundrels,” Clinton claims to be all about campaign finance reform.
Turns out, Clinton is straight up coordinating with her Super PAC, even though she’s already an official candidate.
WTF is going on here?
The deal with Super PACs is they can raise unlimited money and use it to promote a candidate as long as they remain “independent”—meaning candidates and Super PACS are not allowed to coordinate their fundraising efforts.
But Clinton is meeting with representatives of her Super PAC on a regular basis and even raising money for them.
Wait, what? Isn’t that illegal?!
We thought so. But Clinton’s lawyers claim they found a loophole that makes this direct coordination legal. Clinton is pioneering a new kind of rule-bending that every future candidate will probably exploit, while publicly decrying the role of money in politics. It’s one thing to fundraise enough to stay competitive. It’s another to completely blow the covers off the rulebook.
So, who’s going to fix this mess? Politicians elected on a platform of corruption? Nope. We will.
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