December 18, 2003
When "independent" isn't independent
Few are conned by so-called "independent" expenditures. The rules say that a group such as NRA or WMC can spend gobs of money interfering in a political race so long as they don't coordinate with the candidate. Now, how believable is that? Are we to believe that someone in, say, the McCallum camp, is not in touch with some "neutral" from WMC over cocktails at the Madison Club? And the Tooth Fairy will give you a buck for that old tooth.
Rarely have we had such an obvious example of "independent expenditure" chicanery. The AP reports that "several unions contributed $50,000 apiece to a group called "Americans for Jobs, Healthcare, and Progressive Values." What a name. And what did AJHPV do? They created extremely negative TV spots that came dangerously close to saying that Howard Dean would give aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden. Whoa Nelly!
The spots were so bad that the heat was turned on Gephardt, the guy who was supposed to benefit from these spots in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Dean camp asked the group to admit who funded this Gephardt dirty trick.
Without waiting to be exposed, the Machinists, Iron Workers and Laborers unions, all of whom gave money, cried "Don't blame us!" They admitted the TV spots were over the top and were sorry to have been involved. Yikes! Are they saying they give 50,000 clams to some obvious front and have nothing to say about content? No approval rights? Is this how they spend money raised from members for political action. C'mon. Let's expose these so-called independent groups and demand full disclosure.
Dick Gephardt is a good guy. Someone in his campaign seems to have gone over the hill. That's a shame, because George W. will use those spots next October.
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