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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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

And now a campaign finance rider that snuck through...

Thanks to Election Law Blog, I learn of yet another piece of sleight of hand that seems to have the escaped the notice of most of the legislators who voted for it (last discussed here on November 27).

AP puts it this way:
The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, enacted by Congress in 2002, prohibited retiring members of Congress from transferring leftover federal campaign funds to a state campaign, the Federal Election Commission had ruled.

The new provision, approved by House and Senate negotiators, allows the funds to be used in state and local races.

The piece considers in particular Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas [1], who is apparently considering a run for governor in 2006. Apparently, the federal funds she has on hand come to a cool $6.7 million.

Belay your cynicism! According to AP,
Although Hutchison serves on a Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees the election commission, she was not involved in negotiations over the spending measure, said Dave Beckwith, her spokesman.

"No one in our office knew anything about it," he said in Thursday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.

Call it an early Christmas present...

To this layman, there seems no particular reason to oppose the principle of the amendment - which is ยง533 of HR 4818 (amending 2 USC 439a).

The crime is a procedural one: appropriations left till the last moment expressly for the purpose of creating sufficient snow (in deadlines and mountains of verbiage) beneath which legislation that otherwise would not have a prayer of passing can be smuggled into law.

(Especially when it's an amendment to existing laws whose purpose is not apparent from the amending text - which isn't really the case here.)

What else is in that wretched bill that we don't know about, I wonder?

  1. Also this piece. She crops up regularly here as the subject of a notoriously unsuccessful prosecution by the DA on the Tom DeLay case, Ronnie Earle.

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