[eDebate] soros is the man...
Fri Dec 5 19:07:08 CST 2003
hot wpost op-ed today explains his efforts to counter W's tricky dicky subversion of
campaign finance reform. the guy may have millions managed by the carlyle group but
hey you gotta like this shit w his new book on the way to the printa:
Why I Gave
By George Soros
Friday, December 5, 2003; Page A31
I and a number of other wealthy Americans are contributing millions of dollars to
grass-roots organizations engaged in the 2004 presidential election. We are deeply
concerned with the direction in which the Bush administration is taking the United States
and the world.
If Americans reject the president's policies at the polls, we can write off the Bush
Doctrine as a temporary aberration and resume our rightful place in the world. If we
endorse those policies, we shall have to live with the hostility of the world and endure a
vicious cycle of escalating violence.
In this effort, I have committed $10 million to America Coming Together, a grass-
roots get-out-the-vote operation, and $2.5 million to the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, a
popular Internet advocacy group that is airing advertisements to highlight the
administration's misdeeds. This is a pittance in comparison with money raised and spent
by conservative groups.
Rather than a debate on the issues, there's been a lot of name-calling by such groups
as the Republican National Committee and the National Rifle Association. In an attempt
to taint the groups I support and intimidate other donors, they imply that my
contributions are illegitimate or that I have somehow broken the law.
In fact, I have scrupulously abided by both the letter and the spirit of the law. Both
America Coming Together and the MoveOn.org Voter Fund are "527" organizations --
referring to Section 527 of the tax code -- which are entitled to receive unlimited
contributions from individuals. Both groups are fully transparent about their motives
and activities. Both file detailed and frequent reports with government regulators.
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act was an attempt to limit the influence that special
interests can gain by financing candidates and to level the playing field between the two
parties. My contributions are made in that spirit.
President Bush has a huge fundraising advantage because he has figured out a clever
way to raise money. He relies on donors he calls "Pioneers," who collect $100,000 apiece
in campaign contributions in increments that fall within the legal limit of $2,000 a
person, and on those he calls "Rangers," who collect at least $200,000.
Many of these Pioneers and Rangers are corporate officials who are well situated to
raise funds from their business associates, bundle them together and pass them along
with tracking numbers to ensure proper "credit." They are buying the same level of
access and influence for their corporate interests that they previously obtained with
their own and corporate funds. With the help of Pioneers and Rangers, President Bush is
on track to collect $200 million.
To counter the fundraising advantage obtained by this strategy, I have contributed to
independent organizations that by law are forbidden to coordinate their activities with
the political parties or candidates. That law minimizes or eliminates the ability to
purchase influence in exchange for my contribution. Moreover, I don't seek such
influence. My contributions are made in what I believe to be the common interest. ACT
is working to register voters, and MoveOn is getting more people engaged in the
national debate over Bush's policies.
I recognize that the system is imperfect, and I wish there were a different way to level
the playing field. Making contributions to ACT and the MoveOn.org Voter Fund is the
best approach I have found. I have been an advocate of campaign finance reform for
almost a decade, including the legal defense of the current legislation. I recognize that
every new regulation has unintended adverse consequences, but this does not mean
reform should be abandoned.
Clearly, the rules need to be updated in the light of the 2004 experience. Some good
proposals have already surfaced, including one from the major sponsors of the
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. This bill should be supported. Among other measures,
it calls for an increase in the federal match for small contributions and would raise the
spending limit for candidates who accept public funding to $75 million -- changes that
would reduce the bias toward big-money donors. Free airtime for candidates is also
important. This would reduce the cost of campaigns and the distorting effect of
Full disclosure and transparency are clearly beneficial. It is important that people
know where financial support is coming from. I have been open about my contributions,
and I welcome the debate they have sparked. In the meantime, as the debate continues,
my contributions help to ensure that the money spent on trying to reelect President
Bush doesn't overwhelm the process.
The writer is chairman of the Soros Management Fund and author of "The Bubble
of American Supremacy."
Phallus Jerkins Dabait League
More information about the Mailman