CRP Blog

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good News: New York Times Is Upset with RNC/CRP

I was delighted to read this morning that the liberal New York Times is mad at the Republican National Committee, and by extension the CRP, for challenging portions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law in a new legal challenge. The CRP is one of four plaintiffs in the suit, together with the RNC, the Republican Party of San Diego County, and RNC Chairman Mike Duncan.

We are challenging the law's provisions that amount to FEDERAL regulation of political activity that has nothing to do with a federal election. We don't dispute that the federal government can pass all the silly, ineffective and self-defeating rules it wants for federal candidates, but it should not have the power to impose those rules on political parties engaged in supporting state and local candidates.

Predictably, the New York Times hyperventilates that if the suit succeeds, "it will seriously damage democracy." At the same time, the paper argues that the current campaign finance system is "badly broken."

Come again?

Never mind. Trying to reconcile the New York Times editorial page with logic is about as easy as reconciling liberal Democrats with fiscal discipline. For example, the paper championed the passage of McCain-Feingold on the grounds that it would fix the campaign system...which now it says is broken, under the same law.

The reality is this: under the current law, the feds require that parties (national, state and local) pay for certain activities in support of state and local candidates with funds regulated by the federal law. Those campaign activities are already regulated by state and local law, as they should be. Another layer of federal regulation makes little sense.

Interestingly, we have seen that since this latest campaign law was passed, a massive amount of funds have shifted away from democratically governed, broad based political parties to privately controlled, narrowly focused so-called "527" groups. How healthy is it for our democracy to have a campaign system that drives people and resources away from broad based, transparent, democratically governed groups to those that operate and secret and with far less transparency?

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