Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Taking the Contribution Float:
Like Reneging on Public Financing, and ACORN Abuse,
another case of "fair is foul, and foul is fair?"

He has been caught in a few instances of redistribution chatter recently, beginning with his conversation with Joe the Plumber - "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"

And past audio tapes are now surfacing, including the Obama radio interview from 2001, bemoaning the failure of the court system to engage in "redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society," and, further, suggesting the need for refocusing on "the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change." We embeded that audio clip here (transcript here).

In reaction to the relevations, Senator Obama has tried to reemphasize what he has been saying throughout the campaign, that his taxation plan, to the extent that it incorporates additional requirements for the redistribution of wealth, is really just about "fairness." That, he insists, is the overriding factor, even if it would be harmful to the economy in the short run, or reduce revenues. He has also called his notion of fairness "neighborliness."

Three major Obama campaign-related incidents, however bespeak an utter disregard for any notion of fairness. One was his outright violation of the commitment he made to participate in the public financing of his campaign -- of which Cambell Brown of CNN has now starkly reminded viewers. This has given him a huge cash advantage in the campaign.

In recent weeks a second scandal has erupted over revelations about attempts at massive voter fraud, and the involvement of ACORN, an organization with which he has had very close ties since his days as a "community organizer.

Finally, when it came to putting together his system of collecting campaign donations, an apparent disregard of fairness was at stake. As reported in the lede of the Washington Post story on the subject, "Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations Contributions Reviewed After Deposits," printed in today's edition:

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.
Well, fairness has always tended to be a relative term. The question always is, fair to whom?

As reported in today's WaPo story by Matthew Mosk, Senator Obama's campaign now concedes considerable campaign contribution irregularities. He was first caught at it by bloggers, as the paper noted. His campaign deliberately set up an open-ended contribution system, one that, because it did "not require front end screening," gave them the opportunity to accept millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, including untraceable "cash" contributions from people using temporary credit cards, and for virtually anyone to "contribute" using the pre-paid cards, or the credit card numbers of others.

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama's accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama's finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.

In the aggregate, that deliberate choice has enabled the Obama campaign to take corrupt advantage of what financial folks call "the float" -- i.e., having all of that cash on hand for their use during the campaign, knowing that because much of it is illegal, they would eventually have to either return, donate or otherwise deal with much of that money.

But they only will have to do so after having helped themselves to the additional advantage of using the money, in order to win the election. Some bogus campaign contributions have worked their way into all major campaigns, including John McCain's campaign, requiring the campaign to address them. But the McCain camp had an up-front "screening process" in place that has prevented anything like the massively fraudulent influx of questionable donations in the Obama campaign.

Was that fair? To whom? Surely not his opponent, who played it straight by employing front end screening. Surely not the election process. Surely not the spirit of a system of regulating federal campaign contributions established in order to protect the American people from corrupt practices. And, by obvious extension, surely not the American people.

The Obama folks could have easily set up their system -- as did the campaign of Senator John McCain -- so that they would minimize such unlawful contributions. The Obama campaign intentionally chose not to.

When challenged about his lack of any real executive experience, Senator Obama's supporters have, from time to time, pointed to his running of his remarkably successful Presidential campaign as proof. Regardless of whether this is a "bootstrapping" argument, if one presumed the validity of it, then it is entirely legitimate to point to his decision to preside over a questionable, even sleazy fundraising operation as evidence of very bad judgment on his part.

He cannot, as they say, have it both ways! Corruption always strolls along shortcut paths, and it is obvious that the Obama campaign did little to keep it's own folks on track when it 1.) came to breaking his commitment on public financing, 2.) registering new voters, and 3.) in the entire process by which he raised money for his campaign. But at the same time, he would like us to somehow believe that the overriding concern for how he will handle the treasury of the United States and help guide the nation's economy, will be "fairness!"

Why should we not conclude that what he really wants, is for us to finally buy that Bridge to Nowhere?

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At 2:26 AM, October 30, 2008, Blogger Thomas O. Meehan said...

Obama's relatives keep popping out of the shadows. The latest is his African aunt, who lives in public housing in Boston, and his Uncle Omar, present address unknown, but also hanging out in the USA. If Obama redistributes enough of our wealth, he can import his fathers entire tribe of Muslim ner-do-wells.


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