A beautiful set of berries in Bellevue from earlier this year
One of the biggest competitive disadvantages for Democrats is our unwillingness to break the law for our own benefit. Where law is weak and meaningless, like election law, the Republicans go nuts. And that's what Dave Reichert is doing, as he somehow found a corporate media firm (Media Plus) to give him $500K to help him down the stretch. Basically, instead of getting a bank loan, which he can't get because banks won't lend to political campaigns without collateral, Reichert's campaign is getting a loan from his media firm, which is buying TV ad time on credit from four corporate TV stations and extending his campaign credit. This is basically a corporate campaign contribution, and corporate money in politics is ostensibly illegal (ha ha, tell the US Chamber of Commerce that). The Federal Election Commission is obviously toothless and irrelevant these days, totally unwilling to do anything about lawbreaking during elections, when it actually matters. And the press doesn't care, since one FEC complaint looks like another.
|Reichert's media firm is also extending this deal to Dino Rossi, the Republican gubernatorial candidate boosted by about ten million dollars of money from developers with whom he's illegally coordinating. Their agenda is basically eviscerating smart growth regulations and increasing sprawl. Still, why would Media Plus make such a risky bet with no upside? Why make an incredibly high risk loan to Reichert and Rossi for no upside?
Well, Media Plus is a major PR firm with government and corporate contracts, including local drug stores, mobile homes, and a slew of Republican politicians. I don't know what kind of money is sloshing around in that company, or what kind of deal they've cut. Companies don't just put a $500k into a risky campaign for an irrelevant Congressman, and a further slug of cash into a campaign for a GOP Governor without some sort of rationale.
But the consequences are the same. Reichert will be outspending Darcy down the stretch, with commercials going back to back to back slamming her as a tax raiser and using my video footage of 'FISA sucks'. The NRCC will be on the air as well, following on the US Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB. This is the only Congressional race in the country where the Democrats will be outspent (sorry, I meant top-tier), and there was no way to plan for this. You can't plan for a half a million dollar corporate contribution.
Now, there are only two possible routes to respond. One is legal; file for an injunction or complain to the FEC. Neither of these will have effect, since neither will be resolved before the election, after which time Reichert and Media Plus might or might not be fined, but it won't matter. That's what it means for election law to be weak and irrelevant. The other response is up to us. Can we offset some of this illegal corporate cash with a fundraiser or our own?
I don't like bringing this up, because we've all dug deep already. But there really is no other choice at this point. It's up to us. Donna Edwards and Brad Miller has thrown in for Darcy. Lots of you have already kicked in.
I've set a goal for our Actblue page for Better Democrats of $50,000. We're currently at a touch below $40,000, with an average donor size of slightly less than $100. OpenLeft traffic is around 50,000 readers a day, which means if just over 1% of you hit the contribute button for two days in a row we should hit that goal easily.
Head over to that page and kick in a bit. With Better Democrats in Congress and hundred seat majorities, we can put a stop to this rampant lawbreaking from Republicans. But it's not going to stop on its own. We've got to get our people in Congress. There's no substitute for more good votes, and it's impossible to put a price on great leadership.