The Midmorning Refill: Here's another loophole in campaign finance system to be fixed

Today’s Flickr photo:

Flickr photo by suratlozowick

If you read one thing today…

Here’s a way around the campaign finance law that a number of presidential hopefuls are exploiting.

Rather than establishing a federal political action committee to help pay for the cost of exploring the feasibility of running, some hopefuls are using state organizations instead. Donors  give to multiple state organizations, thereby avoiding the donation limit for a single federal PAC.

The Washington Post described the scheme:

On a single day in October, Eldon and Regina Roth each wrote separate checks to political funds set up by Republican Mitt Romney in five states around the country. That allowed the South Dakota beef barons to donate $190,000 – well beyond limits for contributions to federal political action committees.

The state-based funds are among several creative – and perfectly legal – strategies embraced by potential GOP presidential contenders as they lay the groundwork for 2012. The efforts amount to an aggressive and sophisticated preliminary campaign, in which candidates exploit incentives and gaps in the nation’s patchwork election system.

Federal law requires candidates to establish federal PACs if they are even remotely considering running, but these wily candidates get around that requirement by avoiding all mention of the words “White House.”

Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, told the Post:

What we have are fairly sophisticated people with very good lawyers insisting that they’re repeatedly flying to Iowa just to talk about issues. It’s really a bit of a charade at this point.

Sounds like this is something that needs to be addressed. But as we have said before, we need to do more than tinker around the edges. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporations can now spend as much as they want to sway elections. What’s needed is a constitutional amendment to overturn that bad decision. If you agree, go to www.DontGetRolled.org and sign the petition.