As part of her quasi-populist campaign platform, Hillary Clinton wants to get “secret money” out of the elections process. But though the angry rants against compromised politicians sound good at a rally, they ring a bit hollow when you consider the source. Clinton is one of the biggest offenders in America when it comes to raising money from behind a shrouded curtain. Even if you don’t believe the worst of the stories, she can’t run from the donations flowing into one of her primary super PAC supporters.
Clinton’s super PACs are so layered that it’s almost impossible to follow the money. This is, of course, completely by design. This woman vilifies the Citizens United decision whenever she gets the chance, but her ethical opposition doesn’t stop her from taking full advantage of the system.
According to reports filed with the FEC, pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action accepted a $1 million donation on June 29. This donation came from another super PAC – Fair Share Action. Because Fair Share Action is organized as a nonprofit, it is not legally required to divulge where their donations come from. Want to talk about “the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money,” as Clinton put it last month? This is a perfect example.
“In the face of a billion dollar onslaught by right wing groups, there is too much at stake for everyday Americans for Democratic groups to unilaterally disarm,” said Peter Kauffmann, a Priorities USA spokesman in response to critics who say the organization should return the money. In other words, as long as the laws are what they are, Clinton and her supporters are going to exploit them. That gives you a glimpse into her ethical worldview.
“We’re going to have to do what we can in this election to make sure that we’re not swamped by money on the other side,” Clinton herself said when confronted with the dilemma.
The Playing Field
Obviously, it’s not going to be easy for Republicans to hammer Clinton on this issue without appearing a bit hypocritical. There’s little support for campaign finance reform on the right, so this information is only going to be useful as a defense. But a powerful defense it makes, as it immediately makes Clinton the hypocrite instead. Even the most dim-witted Democrat voters can see how nauseating her righteousness is on this issue.
At the end of the day, though, Republicans need to focus on defending campaign rules through the context of free speech. Because if that defense falls, it’s hard to imagine a better one. Super PACS give rise to all sorts of financial shenanigans, but it’s naive to think those shenanigans weren’t in the system before. As we can see, Citizens United didn’t keep Obama from winning in 2012, and it hasn’t changed too much about the names we see running for president. It’s a non-issue whose solutions are far more frightening than its implications.
If Hillary wants to play ball, by all means, she has that right. But to stand there and lecture the rest of Washington while abusing the same system…that’s just too much.