When the Shoe’s on the Other Foot

Progressives spent $741 million on their 2008 Presidential campaign, and President Obama announced a goal of $1 billion for his spending on the current campaign.  Candidate John McCain spent all of $228 million on his.

Today the Republicans are competing on even ground—even leading the Progressives in some areas—in campaign funding, while Obama’s $1 billion goal is at risk.

The Progressives’ response?  They’ve petitioned the Federal Election Commission with a formal complaint, demanding that the Republican donors to those SuperPACs that don’t side with the Obama camp be revealed; in particular, they’ve complained out the Crossroads GPS SuperPAC.

Never mind that Crossroads, and the other SuperPACS, is organized under a section of the tax code that allows it, and all SuperPACS—conservative and liberal—to keep its funding sources private.

Robert Bauer, a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, wrote in the complaint to the FEC, in all seriousness

There has never been any doubt about its true purpose: to elect candidates of its choice to the presidency and Congress.  Crossroads has tried to shield its donors—wealthy individuals, and corporations who may be pursuing special interest agendas that are not in the national interest.

They make this complaint even though there’s no requirement for donors to SuperPACs to lose their anonymity.  Never mind what the law says.  The law is what Progressives say it is, as Obama has already made clear in another matter.  Never mind what the national interest is.  The national interest is whatever the DNC says it is.

That this is simply a dishonest attempt to stifle campaign donations by the wrong side (in the manner of the KeepingGOPHonest Web site, among others), and so to stifle the political speech of those who are saying things of which the Progressives disapprove.  That there is no legitimacy at all to this beef is demonstrated by the Progressives’ decision to file their “complaint” first with a newspaper (The New York Times) and only after that with the Federal Election Commission.

Oh, yeah—the Progressives have Priorities USA, which is organized under the same tax code section as is Crossroads.  And whose donors are carefully kept secret, as is entirely appropriate under the law.  But Priorities isn’t having the same fund-raising success as Crossroads.

It’s no fair the other side is doing well—we’re supposed to win, dammit!

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