The Shadow Parties

Steve Bainbridge observes that Daily Kos, WSJ, and John McCain all agree that “527” groups like MoveOn.org are party mouthpieces in all but technicality. From WSJ:

Senator [John McCain] — and his co-authors in the liberal press — are furious that huge “soft money” donations are being used to finance TV spots trashing President Bush. Not that most of them mind trashing Mr. Bush. They merely thought that such “big money” donations were banned under the McCain-Feingold reform that they devoted huge chunks of their lives and entire forests to passing.
Alas, their own “progressive” heroes — George Soros, Harold Ickes, the gals at Emily’s List — have now betrayed them by pumping soft money into what is transparently a shadow Democratic Party. Organized under loopholes in the law, these new “527” groups are soaking up fat-cat contributions to finance negative TV spots. The only difference from pre-McCain-Feingold campaigns is that these groups are harder to track and therefore less accountable.

Yep.

That this is happening isn’t a surprise, but the speed is. As I noted last June, in response to claims that the soft money ban mainly hurt Democrats:

I suspect the Democrats will adapt–or figure a way around the law–in the long term.

Given that this happened with every attempt at campaign finance “reform” for thirty years, that was pretty safe bet.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.