The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Kerry abstinence program snags multiply

I've still seen no satisfactory - or any - explanation why the infamous Kerry gap - the five week period between the Conventions during which Kerry would be barred from spending the money he's raised - has only just become a topic of conversation. Where the fact there would be a gap has been known since at least January 2003 (May 24 piece).


Apart from bellyaching from various parties with the noses out of joint (the Chappaquiddick Kid's and the Boston Mayor's, notably) a couple of snafus have turned up:

First, the Boston Herald says (May 26), Dem apparatchiks are warning that Kerry's non-acceptance of the nomination could jeopardise the Convention's
federal designation as a National Special Security Event.

Without that designation, the U.S. Secret Service role in directing and coordinating security for the four-day event could be diminished.

Only four events have earned the designation this year: the upcoming G-8 economic summit, two party conventions and the State of the Union Address.

Are these the same guys at the DNC who should have gripped this problem as soon as it was apparent that the Republicans were going for a late convention of their own?

Second, Kerry has said that, under his abstinence program, his vice-presidential candidate would accept his nomination at the Convention. WaPo (May 26) says that
Republicans have questioned whether Kerry's campaign could qualify for $15 million in public convention money if the Democrats do not formally nominate a candidate. According to one GOP source, any individual could file a complaint to block Kerry from getting the money.

I've made a half-hearted attempt to trace the rules, and failed - of course, the Big Media don't deign to link or reference for the benefit of the little people.

Third, WaPo says
Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Republicans would demand equal time from the networks if Democrats do not nominate a candidate in Boston.

Again, I have no idea whether the claim has any merit.

[Note that Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei would not dream of helping us shmucks out on these technical points. Objective journalism... ]

I've read nothing in any depth on the practical consequences of reverting to Plan A, and having Kerry accept in Boston: whether he could get value from burning his stash in the pre-convention period, the 527s holding back pre-convention to take up the slack from the Kerry campaign for the five week hiatus - that sort of thing. (Looking in the wrong places, no doubt.)

Has the abstinence program idea and the associated furore got the remotest bit of salience with ordinary voters? Has it been polled for news media?

Because, against the management shambles that is the present Administration, the Dems management of the five week problem fails to offer much of a contrast.


The Boston Globe (May 26) has an anonymous Kerryman saying that
Kerry still had not reached out to the Federal Election Commission, seeking an advisory opinion on the legality of the move. He has received briefs from campaign lawyers expert in election financing laws.

According to the Globe piece, Dems generally are relaxed about the manoeuvre.

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