The Midmorning Refill: Calls for campaign finance reform apply to both GOP and Democrats

Today’s Flickr Photo

From an Oxfam campaign on sustainability and climate change. Flickr photo by Oxfam International.

If you read one thing today . . .

While the GOP is the party mostly benefiting from the flood of anonymous corporate donations being collected and spent this year on political ads, the WaPo’s Sue Marcus points out that just six years ago the Democrats were the party being accused of running roughshod through campaign finance regulations. There’s little moral high ground for Dems  in the debate over reforming our campaign finance rules. Marcus writes:

Let’s not be naive, though. Unlike most Republicans, Democrats have long supported campaign finance reform; for that they deserve enormous credit. But campaign cash is where the hardball hits the mitt. For decades, both parties and their allies have demonstrated a hardheaded willingness to exploit and stretch existing campaign finance laws. To expect otherwise is to expect lions not to eat zebras when the opportunity arises. The ethics — and the expressions of ethical outrage — are purely situational.

Democrats are not playing the outside group game this election — but it would be awkward to do so while blasting Republicans. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama discouraged the formation of outside groups — but his fundraising juggernaut meant he didn’t need them.

The real villains of the current mess are a tax code that gives way too much leeway for secret and unlimited political cash and a regulatory regime that has proved itself incapable of stemming the flow.

Overheard:

From  Jennifer Steinhauer and Carl Hulse in the New York Times comes a look at House Minority Leader John Boehner’s humble Ohio roots:

“Growing up, we were probably Kennedy Catholics because we were a strong devout Catholic family,” said Bob Boehner, the congressman’s older brother, who like all his siblings eventually switched party allegiance. “But the first time you get a real job and get your paycheck, you look down and you wonder, where’s the rest of your money, and they explain to you that that’s the tax you have to pay to the government, you start thinking more and more about becoming a Republican.”