We expect our elected officials to be individuals of high principles — the best and brightest, but their creation of the super PAC’s once again speaks to their true intentions. Where campaign contributions are tightly controlled by federal election laws, there is no bottom line for PACs as the folks running them can do whatever they want with the funds raised. Legally, spending responsibilities rest with the group’s treasurer, who reports to who ever is ultimately controlling the super PAC. While candidates are prohibited from using campaign money for their personal expenses, there’s no such restriction for these PACs.
The Federal Election Commission, which regulates campaign money, has repeatedly asked Congress to amend the law to prohibit PACs from spending donations on non-political expenses. Lawmakers, who often use political contributions for personal expenses through vehicles known as leadership PACs, haven’t followed through on the request. And why should they when we allow them to conduct their affairs in this manner?
It’s not gang warfare, but I have a very bad feeling that by the time we hit Election Day in November the airwaves will resemble something akin to it, as the gloves come off. Of course, those behind the PACs will expect their interests to be rewarded. I always find it so amazing that these elected officials, who seem so genuine and sincere when campaigning and asking for your vote, can condone such tactics, but like it or not this is the way big-time politics are played and will continue to be until we let them know we’ve had enough.
Are we there yet? I know I am.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.