One Dem bundler's call to end McCain-Feingold prompts another to diagnose 'fund-raising Stockholm syndrome'
Obama's embrace of his super PAC may have been an acknowledgement of political reality, as he girds for the coming onslaught of super PAC-funded attack ads in support of the eventual Republican nominee. But it was also a blow to Democratic efforts to reform a campaign-finance system they gives undue weight to deep-pocketed special interests.
Today, a former Democratic National Committee finance chair said that repealing the landmark legislation that barred unlimited donations to political parties may have to come next, as a means of providing a counterweight to the opaque, lightly regulated super PACs.
"Doing so wouldn’t get rid of the role of money in American politics," Leonard Mark Lewis wrote in a Times op-ed this morning. "But by channeling it back into the parties, it would reintroduce accountability to the system, the lack of which is what makes super PACs so pernicious."
For one established Democratic bundler I talked to, that's a hard sell.
"If fund-raisers and donors advocate a return to the old campaign-finance system of corporate and special-interest money before McCain-Feingold, they are victims of political fund-raising Stockholm syndrome," Robert Zimmerman, a D.N.C. committeeman and major Democratic fund-raiser, told me.
"The goal is not just to disclose the special-interest and corporate donors, the objective is to get them out of the political process," Zimmerman said. "If the Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress are to have any credibility in advocating campaign-finance reform, they have to endorse legislation like the Schumer-proposed constitutional amendments to overturn the Buckley decision or put forward their own specific proposals. Otherwise, the dollars being raised today will not just dictate our elections, they will diminishing our democracy."