Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

How the Bush campaign evades campaign finance laws.

They use a network of a few hundred individuals to organize fundraisers and solicit donations at or near the maximum legal level, usually from within their own corporations or from those who support a particular political lobbyist organization. These individuals are primarily comprised of corporate executives, lobbyists, or longtime business or political associates of the Bush administration.

In 2000, about 40% of these individuals were rewarded with a job or appointment, granted ambassadorships, cabinet-level positions, or regulatory board positions that effected their industry. Many of these individuals were consulted in forming government policy for departments such as Energy and Defense, and all of them were given access to leaders within the White House.

This has led to the CEOs of major companies asking for "voluntary" donations from top executives within their business. While it is illegal to force employees to donate to a given political party, it appears that in many cases, there is an unspoken network of kickbacks in exchange for donations -- in other words, the company gives executive special "bonuses", and then asks the same executives to contribute to a given candidate.

In one recent article, a Wall Street executive was approached by the chairman of his firm, who wanted him to write a $2,000 check to George Bush's re-election campaign. This was requested shortly before the issuance of his Christmas bonus. "I was so shocked and appalled because I'd never been hit with something like this, but from what I hear, this is business as usual."

The checks were not to be sent to the Bush campaign, he explained. Instead, they were to be sent to the chairman's office. That way, the chairman could give all the checks to the Bush campaign himself and get credit for his fund-raising efforts. "The thing that galled me, though, was not that the chairman was pushing his political views on me, but rather that I was expected to enhance the reputation and status and power, the personal power, of the chairman in the Bush arena with my contribution."

In many cases, these $2000 donations were made not only by corporate executives, but also by their families, children, etc. It is claimed that in such cases, direct compensation from these donations are made by either the corporation or the requesting party, prior to the contribution. These requests for political donations by CEOs are even made in companies where it is corporate policy that employees are forbidden from soliciting political donations.

Hopefully, something will be done if Kerry gets into office to modify the campaign finance laws to put an end to these unregulated corporate "individual" donations.

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