The EFM Feature

From The Politico, something absolutely appalling:

In February, the California state party convened a training session for newly elected county treasurers in Sacramento to go over reporting requirements under McCain-Feingold. Many were shocked to discover they could face jail time if their records were incorrect. “They were coming out of their chairs yelling at the state treasurer,” recalled one participant. “McCain’s name was used, liberally, in vain that day.”

And rightly so. But it sounds as if his 2000 national co-chairman shouldn’t be exempt from the name-taking:

Thompson not only voted for the law, he spent two hours behind closed doors with California Democrat Dianne Feinstein negotiating a key compromise on the $2,300 individual donation limit that is widely credited with paving the way for the bill’s final passage. “We got a deal,” Thompson said after that meeting in 2001.
Indeed, his role in pushing the bill through the Senate was so significant that there was a moment when his name was invoked in news articles alongside its two chief sponsors, McCain and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).

And of course there’s this:

Thompson has recently distanced himself somewhat from the legislation he worked so hard to pass in 2001. He told The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page writer John Fund that the law has been shot through with loopholes and didn’t have the reforming impact lawmakers thought it would.

If that is true, Senator Thompson is not the constitutionalist he so often claims to be. The problem with McCain-Feingold is not that it had loopholes or that it didn’t do what it was intended to do. It’s that its modus operandi–heavily restricting political speech–was itself objectionable and trampled all over the First Amendment. And if he doesn’t get that, his apparent change of heart leaves a bit to be desired.
There are ways to reform campaign finance without doing that, such as repealing contribution limits and instituting immediate, 100%, Internet-based disclosure. But that’s not what McCain-Feingold, with Senator Thompson’s apparently crucial help, did. Just ask James Bopp, Jr. and the Christian conservative groups he represents.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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