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August 9, 2008

If You Can't Do The Time, Don't Do The Crime

-- by Dave Johnson

A new group called Accountable America is warning conservative donors about staying within election laws. The New York Times wrote about this the other day with the misleading headline, Group Plans Campaign Against G.O.P. Donors.

Of course it isn't a "campaign against GOP donors" it is a campaign warning against unlawful and unethical activity. But stopping unlawful activity just might dry up a lot of the Republican Party's -- and the right's supporting infrastructure's -- cash flow. This includes 501c3 tax-free "charity" think tanks and 501c4 "issue" organizations that are really illegally engaged in candidate activity, or otherwise acting as conduits for corporate money or for those who have "maxed out" (reached the legal limit) for political donations.

The other day I wrote about,

... companies intimidating workers to vote a certain way, churches, think tanks, front groups incorporated as c4s but doing candidate work, campaigns violating election laws, etc.

... Suppose [we could create] some concern among the Wal-Marts and the Sheldon Adelsons that they had better think about following the law?

What would this do to the funding sources of the right's machine?

So I guess great minds think alike. Heh.

There is plenty of need for an effort to get conservative and corporate donors to follow the law. Just for example -- last week's news about "curious" bundled political contributions made by employees of oil companies receiving billion-dollar contracts from the government to McCain and Republicans. Some of these donations came from people clearly unable to make such a donation on their own. This makes it appear that the companies may have illegally given these people money to give to McCain and the Republican Party and groups are demanding an investigation (that will never happen).

[Public interest groups] want the Justice Department to investigate whether bundlers for John McCain's presidential campaign are using "straw" donations -- those made in the name of someone else to evade contribution limits.
A story at TPM elaborates,
"An executive from a company that has a billion dollar contract to deliver oil to U.S. bases in Iraq possibly violated election law to funnel contributions to McCain. We think that warrants an investigation."

And on the Hess matter ... : "An office manager for an oil company that stands to gain millions in profits from offshore drilling makes donations for the first time this cycle to McCain, and did it at the same time nine other Hess donors do. That's worth an investigation."

Now that Accountable America is on the scene maybe corporations and big donors who are thinking about engaging in illegal activities will think twice.

If you want to help this effort you can donate by clicking here.

Update Kathy G writes about Accountable America in her post Liberal fascism strikes again!

* The new group will offer a $100,000 reward to those providing information that leads to the conviction or judgment against a conservative or business-related organization that violates the law.

* Accountable America will provide information to the public through television ads, mailings, phone calls and its Web site.

* Next week the organization plans to send a mailing warning nearly 10,000 Republican donors of the consequences of funding organizations that break or skirt the law.

Posted by Dave Johnson at August 9, 2008 12:43 PM

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