Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Campaign financing again

The Democrats press their attack on John McCain as he attempts to opt out of public financing. Some conservatives appear to be enjoying the spectacle.

The definitive post on the subject is by former FEC Commissioner (and current Ohioan) Brad Smith.

All this leaves me with a few questions unanswered. First, does or does not Barack Obama have a hold on Bush FEC nominee Hans von Spakovsky? The WaTi article says he withdrew his hold in December; everyone else says the hold is still in place. Since that nomination is what is effectively preventing the FEC from reaching a quorum so as to be able to resolve this dispute, people need to be asking Obama and his fellow Democrats about their actions. The opposition to von Spakovsky is connected with his role in promoting voter ID legislation and purging the voter rolls of felons. Partisan Democrats don’t like him. Are they going to be able to get away with prosecuting their partisan ends and putting a cloud over the McCain campaign? As I said before, since they don’t actually have to do anything to keep this mess going, and since it’s pretty arcane, I fear that they can get away with it. Who’s going to put the heat on them? The press? President Bush? The RNC?

Another issue concerns Senator McCain’s place on the Ohio ballot, which he secured by showing that he was authorized for federal matching funds (even though he hadn’t received a penny). This enabled the McCain campaign to avoid the more cumbersome and expensive means of securing voter signatures to win a place on the ballot, a means all the other campaigns seem to have used. In this case, it strikes me that the ball is in the Ohio Secretary of State’s court. Why does Ohio law permit this alternative means of ballot access? I assume that demonstrating to the FEC’s satisfaction that you’ve raised lots of money in small increments in lots of states is a proxy for demonstrating that you could, if you needed to, jump through Ohio’s hoops for getting on the ballot. But I don’t know what the intention of the Ohio law is, and I don’t know how the official charged with administering that law will rule.

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