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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Campaign Finance Reform Gone Haywire

This story from the Wall Street Journal (hat tip to Tony Phyrillas) illustrates exactly why campaign donation limits are a meaningless reform.

Unfortunately, this is the same type of contribution limit many legislators support in PA. And when I testified that contribution limits wouldn't clean up state politics, but would make it more difficult to track big donors, I was treated like Michael Vick at a PETA convention.

The Journal id'd a family in California that had given $45,000 to Hillary Clinton since 2005 (and $200,000 to all candidates). This seems high given that federal law limits donations to $2,300 per cycle (primary and general). But that limit is for every individual - even an infant can give up the max.

But in addition to giving in the name of each family member, the WSJ believes that someone else may be funding the donation supposedly coming from the Maw family:

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records.


In the wake of a 2002 law that set those limits, federal and state regulators and law-enforcement officials said they have seen a spike recently in the number of cases of individuals and companies illegally reimbursing others for campaign donations.

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