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Republicans Vow To Crack Down On 527 Groups

File under "it’s about time."

From the DNC’s house organ, the Washington Post:

GOP Seeks Curbs On ‘527’ Groups

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Jonathan Weisman
Thursday, March 16, 2006; Page A04

House Republican leaders proposed changes in lobbying laws yesterday that would include a crackdown on independent, big-money committees that heavily aided Democrats in the 2004 elections.

The proposed ethics package would increase the amount of information that lobbyists must disclose and would, at least temporarily, cut off privately financed travel for lawmakers. The bill would also force lawmakers to disclose the pet projects they are seeking for their home districts.

Two months after congressional leaders pledged wholesale reforms of government ethics and lobbying rules following the guilty plea of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the leading proposals are less extensive than the initial promises and are moving slowly toward passage. There is widespread disagreement among lawmakers about how far to go in restricting their interaction with lobbyists, and interest in lobbying changes has been overtaken by other more pressing issues, including port security.

Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), recently elected House majority leader, has argued that it is far more important to increase disclosure requirements for lobbyists and lawmakers than to limit their interaction. But in a surprising development yesterday, House GOP leaders decided to try to intervene in a fast-growing sector of campaign finance that has mostly benefited Democratic candidates.

As part of the House GOP proposals, "527" organizations that operate independently of the political parties would no longer be allowed to collect unlimited sums from individuals. Democratic-leaning 527s have accepted tens of millions of dollars from such wealthy backers as investor George Soros and insurance mogul Peter B. Lewis.

Instead, the groups would be governed by federal campaign finance laws that would restrict such giving to a total of $30,000 from individuals per year. By contrast, during the 2004 election cycle, Soros gave $27 million and Lewis gave nearly $24 million to Democratic-oriented 527 groups, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan research company.

Republicans were excited at the prospect of crippling these groups. "We strongly commend these efforts as an important step towards much-needed reform," said a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

Democrats spoke out against the proposal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "does not personally support additional restrictions on 527 contributions," a Pelosi spokeswoman said.

In 2004, Democratic-oriented 527s raised $265 million, compared with the GOP-oriented groups’ $154 million. So far in the 2006 election cycle, Republican- and Democratic-leaning 527s have raised roughly the same amount of money — more than $36 million on each side, PoliticalMoneyLine reported…

I’ll be very surprised if anything is actually done to curb these 527s, since they are now the lifeblood of the Democrat Party which still runs Washington.

But it is the height of irony that McCain and Feingold’s "Campaign Finance Reform" was so perverted to give a couple of America-hating crackpots with money (Soros, Lewis) so much power.

Or maybe that was CFR’s intentions in the first place.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, March 16th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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