Saturday, May 14, 2016

What's Worse, Stinking Rich Self-Funders Or Candidates Who Sell Their Souls For Contributions?


Florida politics is a case study in campaign finance corruption

If you like conservative spoiled rich kid Patrick Murphy-- and apparently voters along Florida's Treasure Coast do-- there's no reason why you wouldn't like conservative spoiled rich kid Randy Perkins, the newly-minted "Democrat" who's running for the congressional seat Murphy is giving up as he runs for the open Senate seat against progressive Democrat Alan Grayson. The DCCC certainly loves him as much as they love any corrupt conservative self-funder. Today, Murphy is mired in multiple fundraising scandals-- from a Steve Israel scheme that is sending Ami Bera's father to prison and is about to come down hard on Murphy's corrupt parents, Thomas and Leslie, to a PayDay lender bribery situation and an operation that funneled over $100,000 in Saudi money-- perhaps many hundreds of thousands of dollars-- into Murphy's shady political career. Oops... I almost forgot the massive bribes Murphy has been taking from EB-5 visa crook Nick Mastroianni.

Randy Perkins, who maxed out to both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in recent cycles, and (along with his wife) has given at least $1.7 million to Republicans and about $840,000 to Democrats, including a huge bribe he gave to Chris Christie to get a contract for Hurricane Sandy cleanup work in New Jersey) is self-funding his bid to buy a congressional seat. Last FEC report we saw showed him having taken just over $2 million from his own bank account and put it into his campaign (which was back on March 31).

Yesterday, Randy was featured by Politico calling campaign fundraising too disgusting and appalling for him to continue doing it. "Whether you’re running as a Democrat or a Republican," said the stinking rich and corrupt Perkins, "the expectation is you’ve got to raise, raise, raise, raise. It’s not something I’m willing to do. It’s disgusting and appalling."

"Fundraising," wrote Marc Caputo, "takes a considerable amount of time. And it’s awkward to ask others for $2,700 checks per election if you’re a self-made man worth as much as $200 million from working in the blue-collar field of disaster recovery."

Just down the road from the district Perkins is pretending to live in, campaign finance reform champion Tim Canova-- who is running against corrupt campaign fundraising vacuum-cleaner Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- is not asking for $2,700 checks. As of yesterday, Canova's very grassroots campaign had raised $1,017,632 from 53,155 individual contributions-- no money from corporate PACs and just 9 maxed out contributions. His average contribution is $18.55 and 98% of his donors have given less than $200. Like campaigns by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson, that's as close to a publicly-funded campaign as I've ever seen! "When elected," he told me this morning, "I will not owe a single favor to any corporate interests." Amazing when a candidate has something to say about policy ideas and voters get that the race isn't just about a careerist move, the way Wasserman Schultz's and Perkins' races are.

Caputo reported that Perkins "was ready to spend at least $3.5 million of his own fortune before he even entered the race. Now he’s on the hook for millions more."

Jonathan Chane, Perkins' main Democratic opponent told us that "When I'm elected to Congress I'm committed to overturning Citizens United and fighting for real campaign finance reform that will take the corrosive influence of money out of politics." The DCCC has been discouraging Democratic donors from helping Chane's campaign and have put Perkins on a list they give out to donors, primarily of the most corrupt and unscrupulous candidates running for Congress-- the Red to Blue list. Caputo interviewed Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics watchdog group, for his piece and she explained that "there are benefits and drawbacks to having independently wealthy candidates and politicians."
“The good news bad news is most people who self-fund lose. And that’s good because we don’t want Congress just made up of rich people,” she said. “But that’s bad because if they don’t self-fund, candidates and members need to spend all their time fundraising.”
You can contribute to make Florida congressional politics slightly less of a stinking cesspool by helping elect clean-government reformers like Tim Canova and Alan Grayson on this ActBlue page:
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