An announcement yesterday that two former top White House aides were forming a non-government group underwritten in part by secret donors has sparked pointed disagreement over the strategic direction and moral compass of the Democratic Party. The first, Priorities USA Action, is a political committee organized primarily for influencing elections -- 527 groups, according to the tax code. The second, and more controversial group, is Priorities USA. It is a new type of organization with a 501(c)4 tax status that does not require donor disclosure. Former Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold said, “I’m not going to endorse playing with the devil. I'm not going to endorse becoming just another corporate candidate. I know a lot of Democrats in D.C. don’t agree with me on this. And I, of course, understand the desire to do everything possible to win. But, essentially what you’re doing by this is, you’re trying to become corporate-lite, in effect. And we’ll lose that battle, because Republicans are going to have more money.” He then added, "I don’t think my race is a good example, because we had one of those sweep years.” Um, yeah Mr. Feingold, your race is the perfect example. He was a popular 3 term senator and was outspent 4-1. That made all the difference in the world. As much as I admire Feingold, I totally disagree with him on this issue. Do I like what the Democrats feel they have to do to stay competitive? No. But this is the playing field we currently have to play on until there's some campaign finance reform. After the brutal 2010 election cycle for Democrats, and a clear pattern established by Republicans, such comments seem foolishly idealistic and dangerously naive. If we want to change the system, we need to rid ourselves of elephants.
David Donnelly, national campaigns director of the Public Campaign Action Fund asked, "How do can you engage in these types of campaigns with hands tied behind your back? In the end, I want as many reformers as possible to be elected. We need more allies in office to change the rules.” Donnelly is aware of the paradox. Despite bemoaning the influence of 527 organizations, his group operates one in hopes of electing "reformers.” He is, he stresses, "completely comfortable engaging in the fight in order to get more people in office who are interested in structural reforming government."
If not for the SCOTUS disastrous Citizens United ruling, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pledge to fight President Obama's executive order to make government contractors disclose their political spending, none of this would have been necessary. Chamber of commerce to fight Obama with all available means
TPM: In 2012 Money Race, Democrats Say Game On!