How Wrong Can You Be?
According to this morning's FlashReport (author Jon Fleischman)
California Congressmen John Doolittle [for whom I used to work in the State Senate] and Henry Waxman are going before the FEC to try and get 'permission' to raise unlimited sums to battle Proposition 77.
The last time John Doolittle tried to sell us out on redistricting, the left - right and center of the California Republican Party joined together to amend the state party bylaws to allow a pre-primary endorsement of the opponent of any incumbent who joined with the Dems to protect his own safe district at the expense of the party. It passed overwhelmingly. I think it was Greg Martin of the California Young Republicans and Carl Davis, then Chair of the LA County GOP who led the floor fight assisted by Jon Fleischman and myself among many others.
I think it was called the Unity Amendment and the handouts used the slogan Hold Their Feet to the Fire. At the time, the rumor was that Congressman John Doolittle and then Assemblyman Bill Baker were the ones meeting with Willie Brown to carve themselves some safe seats. The threat of a pre-primary endorsement for their opponent was enough to scare them straight. Maybe we need to renew the amendment.
UPDATE: My pal Sherilee just sent me the following email. Apparently, the FEC ruled against the good guys.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE FEC: Calif. Lawmakers Can Exceed Limits In Remap Fight The
FEC ruled unanimously today that Reps. John Doolittle, R-Calif., and Howard
Berman, D-Calif., do not have to comply with federal campaign contribution
limits when raising money for ballot measures in November's special
election, including a measure that would change the way the state draws
congressional districts. But commissioners rejected, on a party-line 3-3
vote, a motion by Republican Michael Toner that would have exempted
campaigns connected with ballot initiatives from federal election law in all
cases. Toner argued that Congress never intended the law to extend to ballot
measures. He said in examining the legislative history of the Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act of 2002, "I'm not aware of any floor discussion where
initiatives and referendums were mentioned." Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a
Democrat, said she agreed in this case that federal officeholders would not
further their re-election efforts by raising money for the ballot
initiatives. But she noted, "I don't know if I'd be willing to say that
there are never any circumstances where [ballot initiatives] are connected
to a federal election." Commissioners compromised by issuing a narrowly
tailored opinion that would allow Doolittle and Berman to disregard federal
limits. In doing so, the panel rejected a draft staff recommendation to deny
Berman and Doolittle's request. The commissioners, including Toner,
indicated they might reconsider a sweeping exception for ballot initiatives
at a later date. A commission spokesman said several lawmakers, including
House Minority Leader Pelosi of California, called to urge the FEC to allow
Berman and Doolittle to raise funds without having to comply with federal
limits. In an interview, Toner explained that the FEC has always assumed
that redistricting is "so far removed from voting" that it would not be
covered by the law. But he also noted that as a state officeholder,
Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, could raise unlimited soft money to
support initiatives he sponsored, including the redistricting measure, while
his congressional opponents would be restricted to hard money. The FEC also
ruled unanimously that Andy Mayberry, a Republican running in the 2nd
District in Arkansas, can continue publishing two newspapers he co-owns
while running for office. The commissioners said Mayberry can print opinion
pieces on election issues, as long as he does not include his own name or
picture -- or his opponent's -- 120 days before the election. Although the
commissioners agreed that the decision was consistent with regulations, some
expressed misgivings about the rules governing candidates who also are media
owners. Weintraub noted the opinion pieces could "look like they're coming
from some neutral source who is in complete agreement with the candidate."
The FEC also voted unanimously to allow Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., to
use campaign funds for his children's travel expenses, as long as it is for
events connected with his status as a federal officeholder. -- by Alyson
As Sean Connery would say, "What are you prepared to do?"