Stealth money goes local | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stealth money goes local

Posted By on Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Talk Business reports an independent expenditure committee has filed papers to spend money to elect conservative candidates (read mostly Republican) at the local level.

Question for organizer Clint Reed: Will you disclose who's backing the campaign so we can see where they are using this as a vehicle to double up or triple up or quadruple up on spending on their favorite candidates? And, while you're at it, give us a list of the candidates who've hired you so that the matchup can be easier as far as your own self-interest is concerned.

Just because a Republican Supreme Court has opened the door to stealth contributions from corporate interests, it doesn't mean that secrecy is required.

UPDATE: Reed says the independent group will follow the law and that it will be all but impossible for the group to spend money on his candidates because he'd be barred from coordinating expenditures. That's not a complete answer to the questions, but it's a start. The only acceptable answer if you believe in open government is that all contributors and all beneficiaries should be disclosed BEFORE the election. Reed says contributions will be disclosed. Transparency is better than nothing. Independent groups with UNLIMITED individual contribution limits still amount to a way for fat cats to get around spending limits for individual candidates. It's poisonous at the national level. It's no advancement to see it arrive at the local level, where a little money goes a long way. Disclosure won't come in this case until 7 days before the election, by which time the damage will have been well underway.

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