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Wag the Blog: Fundraising Foibles

The bizarre story of fundraiser turned fugitive Norman Hsu has once again shined a spotlight on the business of professional cash-collecting and the perils it creates for candidates for president.

In today's Post, John Solomon and Matt Mosk detail a laundry list of "bundlers" -- those individuals tasked with collecting dozens or even hundreds of check from friends and acquaintances -- with questionable backgrounds.

In today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Roll Call alum Brody Mullins details the story of Pamela Layton's $4,600 contribution and her allegation that she was reimbursed for it by her boss -- an illegal act if true. "It wasn't personal money. It was all corporate money," L:ayton told the Journal. "I don't even like Hillary. I'm a Republican."

The two pieces point to the challenge facing all of the top-tier candidates running for president. On the one hand, the cost of campaigns has never been higher -- forcing the candidates to rely on dozens of people they may have only met once or twice to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars for them. On the other, these bundlers are seen -- rightly or wrongly -- as appendages of the campaign, and so when a Hsu situation arises, it creates a major problem for the candidate.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear your take on whether who is raising money for these candidates should matter. Should the candidates vet each bundler to ensure that he/she has a clean record? Or is it too much to expect that a a presidential campaign -- a huge company put together on the fly -- should know everything about the large number of people collecting cash for it?

As always, the most thoughtful responses will be featured in a post of their own.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 20, 2007; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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I assure you, he's GOOD, or BAD, depending on how you deal with language. Anyway, this hot bass-player upon seeing Lisa spontaneously proclaimed "I hate Zouk!!" and this doing, relieved himself of a weight he hadn't known he was carrying all along.

And now what ? I really don't feel like tagging along with Ian and Co or HH and Co to Zouk. I hate Zouk. Its so f*&$%*ing packed. And there's no free drinks !

Andddd then it was Zouk again! God. I swear I hate Zouk so much now.

i hate zouk.... sedangkan dlm bilik biasa pun setan is dangling everywhere, ini kan pula tempat mcm tu.....

i hate ZOUK!
ivan is in zouk asking me to joining but I hate zouk!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 23, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Blarg--"...I don't think that full public financing is the answer.

The problem is that it takes away the best way to show support for a candidate."

Says you. I would rather have people discussing their candidate with others. Or we could mandate that all the time candidates would have spent fundraising will be allocated to townhall meetings in every state or whatever.

And Cassandra, that was the fake KOZ.

Posted by: roo | September 21, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Publicly funded elections, for those politicians who choose to participate, have resolved this issue. And for those who are willing to participate in supporting these bills CURRENTLY IN CONGRESS, campaign financing becomes a no-brainer. Then, and only then, can our politicians hear from the electorate, not the lobbyists and PACs. I couldn't afford to attend Hillary's fundraiser luncheon earlier this week, let alone the breakout sessions with high-powered congressional leaders. Still, she lags behing Barack in fund raising. Our elected officials can't know that there are opinions outside those that lobbyists present if we can't afford to get in front of them to make them known. Let's level the playing field! Encourage your legislators to sign on as sponsors to these bills now and restore the one person one vote democracy just as it is supposed to be.

Posted by: marytnurse | September 21, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Hsu loves ya, baby...?

Posted by: Philip V. Riggio | September 21, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

If it were any company other than one whose goal is to put someone in the most powerful seat in America, maybe the world, I wouldn't be concerned.

Campaigns have a moral (if not legal) obligation to make sure that the money they receive is acquired honestly from real Americans, not through sly, double dealing corporations or other entities.

Posted by: JasonL | September 21, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Several people here have said that campaigns should be fully publicly financed. I agree that there's too much fundraising in politics right now, but I don't think that full public financing is the answer.

The problem is that it takes away the best way to show support for a candidate. If you're willing to send money to a candidate, you must really want them to win, and think they have a good chance to do so. And if a candidate can raise a lot of money from small individual donors, it shows they have a wide base of popular support. It's important for people to be able to support their favored candidates, and it's important for candidates to be able to demonstrate their popularity with how much they can raise.

So I'd like to see a system that keeps the element of personal donations. Maybe campaigns could be federally financed for most of their cost, and the existing donation limit would be lowered. So every candidate starts off with enough money to run a small campaign, and they can raise a max of $500 from individual donors. I think that would be a decent compromise.

Or alternately, every registered voter could get an account with federal campaign money in it. They can then choose who to do donate that money to. In this system, nobody can donate their own money; all the money is federal funds. It retains the advantages of the current system, while capping the total amount of money available and not favoring rich donors.

Posted by: Blarg | September 21, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

'What do I care if some U.S. soldiers are killed in Iraq? If they die, they die for a cause I have been taught by my party to support, thus their deaths are a regrettable necessity.
They volunteered for the armed forces anyway, didn't they? Those who chose other professions chose not to take that risk. And don't waste my time whining about soldiers from poor parts of the country who "had no other professional options." Waaah.

Our leaders are playing a complicated game of chess against the fanatic militants who hate freedom, and if we lose a small, acceptable number of casualties, we must trust in the wisdom of our elected leaders that their deaths will in the long run benefit the rest of us here at home.'

This tells you everything you need to know about the despicable character who call himself kingofzouk here. This tells you everything about the modern Republican party. This is someone so breathtaking callous, so unspeakably inhuman, that I call on all of you to say something to him, to stand up for human decency, no matter which party you are in. This is beyond partisan and goes deep into the hatred for our fellow americans that exists so deeply today because of the culture of Hate Radio and the whole rightwing slime brigade.

He's a classic war cheerleader and chickenhawk. Won't fight himself, but wants the war to last forever and let others do the fighting for him. He 'doesn't care' if some US soldiers die in Iraq. He just -- doesn't care. Means nothing. No big deal. An 'acceptable number' of casualties... 'waaah' he says. It's just fine for others to die a horrible death or be maimed, because it might, in some way, benefit him.

Because he''s been 'taught by his party' to support this 'cause'--then it's okay. Would have been a good German -- would have supported the Nazis in whatever they did.

This is someone who gets on this blog every day,all day long, for the purpose of sliming Democrats. Half of America. That's his so-called 'life' -- hatred for his fellow Americans.

Human garbage. I ask others to weigh in. Do you find this attitude acceptable? I personally am revolted beyond belief.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

To paraphrase George Will, if you want to take the money out of politics, take the politics out of money. In other words, reduce the discretionary spending power of elected officials, and you won't have so many vested interests lining up at the Government trough, campaign contributions in hand.

Posted by: JD | September 21, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Most campaigns are so thirsty for money, and rightfully so, they can't afford to turn down any contributions. Of course as I read in one comment, we hope campaign managers are competent enough to not accept an obviously controversial or illegitimate contribution.

So campaigns must trust their contributors aren't shady, and if they turn out to be, have to be ready to do good (if not great) PR work.

Posted by: Mark | September 21, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Hillary had a resource the other candidates did not have - as a former First Lady she has Secret Service coverage. The Secret Service does detailed background checks on everybody who comes into contact with either Hillary or Bill Clinton, both of whom had their pictures taken with Normand Hsu; where are the Secret Service reports on him? When were they done? Why wasn't Mr. Hsu reported as a fugitive from justice by the Secret Service? Who stopped them from doing that?
OK, on with the ad homonym attacks; pretend that none of this matters.
BTW, how are Hillary's felony charges from her 2000 Senatorial fund-raising scandal coming along in LA?
Nope, nothing wrong here; move along people...

Posted by: AWatts649 | September 21, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

As a complete aside, I was shocked to find that Dan Balz did actual reporting and all that, like, journalism stuff. This is how issues should be presented by news organisations (OK, it is still a bit light on analysis but it is a giant leap from the typical stenography. Repeating != reporting.)

Posted by: roo | September 20, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

While blabbering about Mr. Hsu is fun and trying to pronounce his name is truly entertaining, even more amusing things are happening in the Republican search for unelectable candidates for the U. S. Senate.

A Cabinet Level Bushie has resigned to run for Chuck Hagel's seat.


When it comes to U. S. Departments well placed to be easy pickings for graft, fraud, waste, and abuse, Agriculture has always been a mother load of stealable pork and assignable bacon. Even if Secretary Johanns defies GWB appointee tradition and turns out to be a Paragon of virtue, the vast mass of subordinates he should have supervised are sure to produce sufficient examples of 1880's Republican spoilsmen to keep the erstwhile Secretary severely embarrassed. With only a little luck, some intrepid investigator or other can out yet another crooked bureau chief every other week from about a month after Johanns gets nominated to the first of November. The Senate race will be a running referendum on George's corrupt administration, and whoever runs for the Democrats will just have to keep a solemn face and cluck about how sad it is that so many appointees seem to have fallen below the needed level of honesty and integrity...

The Republicans can't seriously want that, can they?

Posted by: | September 20, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I think the top bundlers should be screened.
Which is worse. doing background checks for people bringing in big money or having the press find one of yours is corrupt and leaving you looking bad?
The candidates have staff. they can do the background checks.
hillary knew this guy and he was her top fundraiser. not only that, but, more and more are being found to be problems and they all seem to be hers.
the stray one or two is understandable but, for Clinton it's the usual.
Couple that with her lobbyist fundraiser and matching them to members of congress and committee chairmen yesterday and you have someone that you in the press better be investigating and reporting on before the primaries.
I personally would never vote for Hillary even tho I am a democrat.
But, many are blind and gullible. they need to be told about the ethical lapses, many ethical lapses of this woman.

Posted by: vwcat | September 20, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

In the short term we can make some corrections--yes, donations must be reported within two days but the campaign can request to remove donations if something turns up. To avoid any unnecessary accusations, all campaigns should use the same donor verification system. Any funds that are determined to be illegitimate would be turned over to the Peace Corps or something.

In the long term something has to give. Personally I would prefer to see fully publically financed political campaigns (freedom of speech does not exist if speech is not free.) Any qualified campaign--and "unaffiliated" PACs--will be given a certain amount of advertising time. All public political messaging would be required to be conducted this way.

This, of course, would run into some objections from those whom truly free speech would hurt--mainly the affluent. The likely pretense for their ire would be that mandating channels for public political discourse would be anti-free speech.

Objectively, though, this type of system would enable more people, more views and more causes to voice their opinion as well as drastically reduce the amount of corruption in politics due to the reduced direct contact with money.

Posted by: roo | September 20, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

It's the typical trivia the GOP throws out to distract the rubes. As soon as a GOP bundler for their general election candidate is arrested, if it receives wide publicity (say there's a homosexuality component), the very concerned commenters on this post will suddenly not care about this issue. Of that you can be assured. It's the typical trivia the GOP throws out to distract the rubes.

Posted by: david | September 20, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The campaign finance problems and corruption will never be reformed because of the unusually long election cycles. Those elected to the House last November had to start fundraising shortly soon after.
Our government will become a plutocracy in which only the wealthy can participate. Notice who the newcomers to the politics are in the last twenty years? You have millionares who can unload their cash reserves into the campaign.
A potential effective member of Congress could be a nurse, teacher, factory worker, but cannot run for office because of the high stake finances.
However, there seems to be no answer. All campaign reform measures is challenged in court as a violation of the First Amendment.

Posted by: afam212 | September 20, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Meant "the Clintons."

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 20, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Does Hsu really matter?

Posted by: mp | September 20, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Seeing a trend here.... seems like the Clinton's get caught with their hands in the till during the campaign season, while the GOP gets caught with their hands in the till (or the next restroom stall) after they are elected.

Seems like the latest GOPer to get caught is Sen. Stevens of Alaska... there was just a breaking news flash that the FBI announced they have tapes of Stevens talking to the contractors he didn't pay for their work.... or for hosting campaign fundraising parties for him.

The system seems to force candidates to raise obscene amounts of money in order to compete.... but it doesn't force sitting legislators to take bribes, kickbacks and after they retire, cushy jobs with generous salaries.

A good campaign reform law might correct the "bundling" problem.... but what can be done about downright dishonesty. Get the hook....

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 20, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

American Taxpayer/Zouk - so you run and hide again. Damn, you make it so easy to prove that you are just a little man with a keyboard.

You can sleep tonight Zouk, your National Guard is awake. That's daytime in Iraq, where you and your buddies have sent them.

If you believe in a God Zouk, and you would appear to from your pro-life comments, there's literally going to be Hell to pay for you and your buddies. Think about it!

Posted by: Grunt (PH) | September 20, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, I invite you to come to The Wall to observe the 25th Anniversary of its dedication. You can't be too far away in Northern Virginia.

We read the names beginning on Wednesday November 7th and go through Saturday November 10th. On Sunday November 11 (Veterans Day) there will be 25th Anniversary Veterans Day Observance at The Wall.

In spite of all of those who have served honorably, whom you have slandered, we'd be pleased to have you attend. You don't even have to admit to anything. That's why WE served.

Posted by: Grunt (PH) | September 20, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"If I'm willing to take the chance that I won't have health care problems this year, and am not willing to buy insurance to pay for an illness or accident I don't anticipate, that's my choice -- not Hillary's."

Is it? and what if you have cancer? Do you think the hospital turns you away? No you go, and get treatment and then, when you default on payment, the municipal and state gov't have to pay for it, as well as for the lawyers, collection agents, man-hours and paperwork that go into trying to get you to pay what you cannot. So in the end of the day, who pays for your treatment (and the extra burden)? The taxpayer.

I get tired of people whining that the state is 'forcing' them to do something. You are part of the community, and YOU HAVE CERTAIN OBLIGATIONS TO IT. I don't agree with the Iraq war and yet I am aware that as a citizen I am OBLIGATED to commit my share of the tax burden towards equiping soldiers. Unlike you, I don't whine about my duty.

Posted by: American Taxpayer | September 20, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Careful Grunt (PH), Zouk might call you a Liberal! OH, it hurts! The standard curse of the neo-con idiocracy!

Posted by: Jman | September 20, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

No Zouk, the first grenade left 55 - 60 pieces of metal in my body. The skin healed over in such a way that there are no visible scars. As is the case with many PH awardees.

What I am disappointed in is that there are people such as yourself who demean those who serve our country and actually get into positions of power and commerce, and see war as little more than a bottom line proposition for their businesses. They spout patriotic platitudes, but their concern for the actual G.I., Marine or Sailor is virtually non-existant. Those who bear the actual burden and fight the actual fight are just toy soldiers to them.

"the honorable service you did long ago has been erased" That's not your call, little man. No matter what you may like to think..

"If you were ever contrite," I should have to show contrition to you for serving my country? Don't ever count on that. Just catch me on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

I do feel sorry for the lot of you, the Atwaters, Roves, Norquists and Abramoffs, and their toadies who have no concept of what it takes to work with somebody they may not like to achieve a common positive purpose.

I find particularly odious a comment such as "do you think it gives you a pass to insult everyone including our troops and President?" coming from you who has demonstrated so little concern for those that do your dirty work for you.

You and your ilk really have no shame.

In the name of politics and national defense you castigate and insult those who simply have a different political philosphy, while those you defend are actually letting our military get into such a poor condition that we will be hard pressed to meet any challenge in the next decade.

You pathetically go back decades and mock the person who has been proven on this blog to be repsonsible for the beginning of the recovery of the U. S. Military after Vietnam while we see your comrades in arms letting it go to Hell in a Handbasket.

Zouk, prove that you are not the actual Coward which you are now appearing to be and just answer the simple question which a number of posters have posed to you over the past two years - What have you ever done to serve your country?

You always claim that you won't answer the question because it was asked anonymously. This is not anonymous, it is not ignoRant coward asking, there is a name on this post.

Either put up, or you will prove that you are what so many posters accuse you of being.

I say again, Zouk, What have you ever done to serve your country?

Posted by: Grunt (PH) | September 20, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"although it may not be fair"

It is fair. Clinton is the candidate of "experience", only the experience is in corruption. Look at the Arkansas record for the trail of corruption, all the way back. It always has and always will be with the clintons. they find and exploit every possible legal and illegal loophole. who ever thought of selling pardons before them, of renting the Lincoln bedroom, of donations from monks - no controlling legal authority - remember? Depends on the meaning of the word is. classic and enduring clinton. both of them.

Of course this story should be about them. It is their baliwick.

Posted by: corrupt clintons | September 20, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I can just imagine little KOZ secretly zouking it to Hillary while his mom is out of the house. Oh, what unbridled, unholy, guilty pleasure! KOZ are you master of your domain? Not when it comes to Hillarycare...wink.

Posted by: Jman | September 20, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be very difficult for candidates to vet each and every "bundler." The problem in this case is that Hsu was also, it appears, funding travel for Clinton staffers and had more personal access to her staff. Plus, although it may not be fair, it does raise the specter of the fundraising problems during the Bill Clinton Administration

Posted by: demagirl | September 20, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Whenever left-wing Democrats make a proposal they always make at least a part of their plan mandatory. They can't help it -- it's in their blood to want to force people to do what they want them to do.

So Hillarycon would force every man, woman and child in the United States to have health insurance, whether they want it or not. They get no choice in the matter. To Democrats such as Hillary the only right of choice they recognize is a woman's right to choose to kill the baby in her womb. All other rights of choice are up for grabs.

Hillary and her fellow Marxists keep peddling the line that there are 47 million Americans who have no health insurance -- implying that they are too poor to be able to pay for it. That's tommyrot and they know it.

According to Investor's Business Daily, about 38 percent of the estimated 47 percent of the American people who lack health insurance have incomes in excess of $50,000 a year. Moreover, about 20 percent of all uninsured Americans have incomes over $75,000 a year.

These people can afford coverage, but for whatever reason choose not to buy it. You have to ask yourself why Hillary and John Edwards and Obama want to take away the right of these people to choose to remain uninsured.

If they insist on talking about our rights as Americans, why can't they recognize our right to say, "No, we don't want health insurance"?

If I'm willing to take the chance that I won't have health care problems this year, and am not willing to buy insurance to pay for an illness or accident I don't anticipate, that's my choice -- not Hillary's.

The new version of Hillarycare is just another Clintonian con game -- a neatly wrapped bottle of snake oil. She doesn't want you to read the price tag and the label on the bottle that warns that the contents may taste good but are utterly devoid of anything good for your health.

Posted by: Micheal Reagan | September 20, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes Hillary Clinton leaves me breathless with the sheer arrogance of her assumption that the American people are like a bunch of straw-chewing rubes eager to buy her latest brand of snake oil.

She introduced her latest excursion into the field of health care in America by assuring us that under her national health care plan people will no longer be denied needed emergency medical services because they lack health insurance.

Hillary knows that the law provides that nobody can be turned away because of their inability to pay for needed medical services -- she just hopes the voters don't know that. She wants them to think that some cruel tyrant stands at the emergency room door barring entrance to the poor and needy.

Posted by: hillarycon | September 20, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

So are you ignorant coward or grunt (PH) now? did the grenade not leave a scar as in Kerry's case as you claimed earlier? Have you been bitter and dissappointed with your lot in life ever since or is that a more recent thing? If I had been sitting around griping for the last 60 years, I imagine I might sound a lot like you now. do you think that getting wounded delivers some sort of special ability or knowledge about everything in the world or just certain things? do you think it gives you a pass to insult everyone including our troops and President?

If you were ever contrite, noble or intelligent, you would have my sympathies and respect, but you exhibit all the negative traits known to me, so the honorable service you did long ago has been erased by your abhorant behavior of late.

do not try to extrapolate this to anyone else. you are the one with the extreme problems and you should seek help at the Vet.

now if you don't mind I will be very happy to return to ignoring you.

Posted by: trotsky | September 20, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, the kind of criminal background checks ya'll are talking about aren't without their problems. As a lawyer, I know that similar checks run by Federal Probation departments are often inaccurate. In light of the fact that Hsu was free for 16 years after skipping a sentencing, it's not hard for me to believe that a simple database search for his conviction might not have turned anything up.

Posted by: Colin | September 20, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

JimD - Interesting that you mentioned the criminal background checks. Totenberg mentioned using the NCIC and then caught herself and said that you had to be FBI to use that. Not quite, Federal, State and Local law enforcement have access the National Crime Information Center. But, for obvious reasons, private entities do not have access to it.

So, campaigns don't have the easy access. $50 - 70 per inquiry from other sources could add up, but they're using something. Lots of people should have identified Hsu and missed him.

I believe last week that somebody used the movie title and referred to Hsu as, Hiding in Plain Sight.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I see the Dems and Libs on this site are up to their usual knee-jerk response to any difficulty - more regulation, less free speech, more government control, etc.

this problem is a result of the previous campaign finance "reform" which took the general fundraising out of the national parties hands and handed it to various 507 groups. now any fool can air any add without any oversight by the stakeholder. fine, but then to shackle the national and state parties is absurd.

If I have issues (and I do) I am free to take them to my elected representatives, in the form of campaign donations.

now let me school you on fundraising, something I have intimate knowledge of, and I mean intimate.

The checks must be reported within 48 hours of receipt. that does not leave a lot of time for criminal and other background checks. In fact is is often difficult enough just to report names, addresses, place of business and which event or election (primary or general) the money is for. there is a specialized software for this but it is very expensive. this problem is particularly accute at the quarterly reporting periods which dictate who will get press scrutiny for their lack/prowess in fundraising for that quarter. the couriers are very busy that week.

I will be very amused to check back and see all the uninformed opinions on this later.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 20, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Grunt (PH): KOZ will undoubtedly make a bigger a$$ out of himself. Based on all available data, it's the only thing he knows how to do.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | September 20, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, it was a Chinese Communist grenade.

Would you like to continue and make a bigger ass out of yourself?

Posted by: Grunt (PH) | September 20, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

There he goes now, coward. you let him right by you. Get back to work and quit goofing off.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

It is important to remember that campaigns cannot conduct a thorough background check in the same manner as, say, nominees for positions subjec to Senate confirmation. However, it is fairly easy to get an on-line check for criminal records. We do it all the time for manager applicants. Of course, the applicant has to sign a release. It costs around $50 to $70 depending on how wide you cast the net. I would think campaigns can do at least that.

When it comes to accusations, rumors, etc., that is a bit harder to control. Given the obscene amounts of money required to run for president, it is inevitable that after the fact scandals will arise that the candidate legitimately had no idea about. Certainly the cases where big money donors seeking influence reimburse others to donate are very hard to vett. The individual limits are so low compared to the total amounts required that verifying each donor is impossible.

Posted by: JimD in FL | September 20, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Judge/bsimon: I thought the same until over the weekend I saw Nina Totenberg discussing it on one hte the talking head pundit shows, and her comments indicate that the campaigns put far more into having lawyers "vet" contributions than we may ever have imagined.

Her take was that the campaigns should have recognized the Hsu contributions as problems.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Why is this about Hillary? If any of you think that all the donors on big name candidates are clean, you're deluding yourselves.

If this is relevant as an attack line on hillary, then so is the argument that Rudy Giuliani has hired people in his staff who got caught soliciting sex, prostitution, buying drugs, etc. If she should've known, he should've known. I'm nore than happy to DQ them both, btw.

Posted by: DCAustinite | September 20, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

How about this - I support full and equal public funding of campaigns, at a much lower level than the megamillions currently raised and spent by candidates.

A few observations:
1. yes, I know that wealthy special interests will never allow it to happen. Just go with me on this one for a minute, though...
2. What better way to know how a candidate would stay within a fixed budget and make wise spending, staffing etc. decisions than to actually require them to do it - in full public view?
3. There should be a concurrent ban on or at the very least strict regulation of attack ads, to ensure that the time and money are spent talking about the issues.

as I said, it's a pipe dream. But hopefully, if there are restrictions and a limited amount to spend, candidates will be forced to at least lay out their positions to the voters in some way other than to say "I don't agree with Other Candidate." if we don't mandate in some way that voters are informed on the issues, there is no guarantee that the candidates they select will be any more knowledgeable or at least curious than they are.

Posted by: Bokonon | September 20, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, in the real world, Red Bushies are at a 3 to 1 disadvantage in raising ANY FUNDS.

Much ado about little.

The worm has turned.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 20, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Why do I get the feeling Ignorant coward was a MOS 92G or 92S?

Was your discharge based on wounding yourself with the pototo peeler? Is that how you got your purple heart? I would have picked you for a section 8 or don't ask, don't tell violation.

now you are on disability and John edwards is suing someone for you, is that how you have all day to monitor the blog for zouk? Be sure to let us know if you see him.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

that George Will becomes a full-time sportswriter.

Posted by: D'oh! | September 20, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, it is my sincere hope that George Will's becomes a full-time sportswriter.

Posted by: Bokonon | September 20, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Clinton Hears A Hsu

Posted by: The Seuss Demographic | September 20, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I investigated Mr Capone and Mr Soprano and found nothing wrong.

- Hillary.

PS, I found nothing wrong with myself either, nothing wrong with selling pardons, nothing wrong with Chinese money, etc.

Posted by: corrupt clintons | September 20, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Judge C writes
"No campaign conducts that level of self-scrutiny. It is not possible to cross-reference the name of every person it receives money from with a national database."

Agreed. I wouldn't expect a campaign to research 'every person it receives money from'. But when a guy walks in and says "Here's a bunch of checks totalling $850,000," perhaps its worth digging a bit into his background.

Having said that, on NPR last night, Sen Clinton said they did do a background check & found nothing amiss with Mr Hsu. While that may say something about their process, at this point, it looks like the Clinton campaign was not involved with the alleged fraudulent behavior of Mr Hsu.

Posted by: bsimon | September 20, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

A presidential campaign is a huge company put together on the fly. It is ridiculous to propose that it should know everything about the large number of people contributing cash to it. No campaign conducts that level of self-scrutiny. It is not possible to cross-reference the name of every person it receives money from with a national database. And what level of original offense invites return of the contribution? Class A, B or C felonies? How about jaywalking? Speeding? Littering?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | September 20, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Will Hsu call George Will in his defense to bolster the 1st Amendment defense bsimon proposed?"

I can imagine Will now, contemplating his next column, unsure of which angle to take. My guess is he writes about baseball.

Posted by: bsimon | September 20, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I absolutely agree that every candidate for the presidency should be held responsible for investigating every donor and should be held personally responsible for the sins of their contributors. Oh, but only if they're Democrats, of course. No one in the MSM should ever scrutinize the sourse of Republican funds or suggest that they are in any tainted.

I mean, honestly, I don't even like Hillary, but, the double-standard applied by the MSM is glaring.

Posted by: NCSteve | September 20, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Fund raising seems to be something which both sides always wail and wring their hands about the other side doing; but nobody ever seems to say it caused them to vote one way or the other.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, just in case you missed the cite on the MoveOn thread -

"But I don't remember anywhere in the Constitution where this is listed as part of the confirmation process" - Zouk posting as "power mad"

Zouk, your brain needs more excercise than regurgitating RNC talking points and cutting and pasting other people's thoughts. It's Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution.

Leahy is advising the President that he will not consent, until the Administration meets its obligations to the elected representatives of the people of this country, not just the Republican wingnuts.

Nice try to make it appear that you know what you're posting about, though.

Posted by: Jimy Madison | September 20, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

What's really important is the possibility of any quid-pro-quo, something I didn't really see you dealing with. The reason why this is such a big deal for Clinton is because it raises the specter of other questionable funders to Pres Clinton's campaign and the appearance of quid-pro-quo.

Now, put this together with Clinton's comments that lobbyists represent "just everyday Americans"...that's a problem.

It's not necessarily about poor vetting, it's about a behavoir of questionable ethics, imo.

Posted by: Jen Q | September 20, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The Senate will now come to order for the Day, the spineless Harry Reid directing:

We will now vote on surrender in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on capitulation in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on relinquishment in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on renunciation in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on cave in in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on roll over in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on redeployment in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on succumbing in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on cry uncle in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on yielding in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on giving up in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on appeasement in Iraq,
the Nays have it.
We will now vote on relenting, in Iraq,
the Nays have it.

that ends our time for today. Well done my esteemed colleagues. we shall take up this measure again tomorrow. Maybe next week or the week after we will get to the budget.

Posted by: The Senate | September 20, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Until and unless we have publicly funded elections, the entire political system is and will be seen as corrupted. This impacts both candidates running for election and those who win, who have to spend every waking minute focusing on raising $$ for their next election and sucking up to those interests who will provide that money.

Who gets hurt the most by this system? Children, especially poor kids, who don't vote and who cannot provide financial contributions to candidates.

Posted by: windserf | September 20, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, still waiting for a response on what you've done to serve this country, so we won't erroneously label you a Coward.

Posted by: Grunt (PH) | September 20, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Will Hsu call George Will in his defense to bolster the 1st Amendment defense bsimon proposed?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

If all the candidates have this problem, why is it always the clintons who get caught red...I

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 20, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I woud be perfectly happy to have the NYT and WaPo pick the president for us.

Posted by: trotsky | September 20, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Of course it matters where (who) the money comes from Chris, dont be ridic. I guess you're just starting a conversation, but really do you have any doubt that we dont want princes from Saudi or People's Army Generals largely determining who we get to vote for?

I think your other questions are shaded. Should the campaigns know everything about everybody who contributes. I mean is it relevant that someone got popped for under aged possession 30 yrs ago or jaywalking when they give a candidate $ 5? So where do you draw the line, what convictions are so heinous that you dont take a supporters money?

It is what makes Obama's campaign so remarkable is how many low dollar donors he has gotten. Not that I have forked over, but he has brought so many folks who normally dont play at this stage of the game into the primary process.

Still our political process is broken and if its public financing that fixes it, I guess so. But things are truly awful.

Posted by: WOW | September 20, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

it is eay to say that it is hard for those running to screen every bundler, but when the money they are using to fund their succsess' come to be collected by strong arming and fraud, then it is on the canidates and the organization to ensure that the rules are follwed

Posted by: andy | September 20, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Mr Hsu was just exercising his right to free speech. Surely he can beat the fraud rap with a 1st amendment defense.

Candidates perhaps should focus on appealing to more small-denomination donors, rather than targeting the moneyed class & the bundlers, thus avoiding the accompanying problems.

Posted by: bsimon | September 20, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

There should be publicly financed elections, with airtime donated to qualified candidates by the TV and radio stations. These are our airwaves, after all. The only way to clean up the corrupt political system we have now, where huge mutlinational corporations and foreign individuals literally buy votes, is to take the money out of it.

Posted by: drindl | September 20, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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