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Bachmann campaign in hot water with FEC?

When news of the Bachmann campaign's acquisition of an "all-star lineup" of GOP campaign veterans, Dump Bachmann did a little research into her new treasurer, Keith Davis, and a second campaign committee that was set up in Bachmann's name, called the Bachmann Victory Fund. Today, an AP article notifies us that Davis and his practice of setting up these "Victory Funds" is under scrutiny by the FCC:

Note to political candidates: The Federal Election Commission doesn't want fundraisers using your name in vain. Even if you're the one getting the cash.

At stake are joint political fundraisers, a common practice for politicians and their party organizations to cast a wider net for campaign dollars. To do that, they must register a joint fundraising committee with the FEC to account for their contributions and their spending. The word "victory" or something equally upbeat is usually in the committee name, so is the year of the election as in "Victory 2006."

To distinguish themselves from other "Victory 2006" committees, fundraisers have been attaching the candidate's name. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., raised money through the "Chafee-Rhode Island Victory 2006." Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., relied on the "Santorum Victory Committee." Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, tapped the "Mike DeWine Victory 2006." And so on.

Not so fast, says the FEC. In letters to the Chafee, Santorum and DeWine joint fundraising committees and a handful of other candidate-related groups, the FEC warned that such eponymous organizations violate federal election regulations. The letters have been addressed to the same Republican campaign finance veteran, Keith Davis of Arlington, Va., the treasurer of more than 20 joint fundraising committees.

"We don't understand the FEC's argument," Davis said. "These are indeed committees that are authorized by the candidates. We have full confidence that they have the right to use the candidate's name."

Davis is hardly alone. The FEC has been demanding that joint fundraising committees eliminate candidates' names for some time, to no avail. Whenever the FEC cites one section of election law to make their case, treasurers for the committees respond by citing another section that upholds their argument. With no resolution, the committees ignore the admonitions.

Bachmann is not mentioned in the article, but two facts lead me to believe that the Bachmann is an FEC target: first, that Keith Davis is her treasurer; and second, that it is named the "Bachmann Victory Fund," fitting with the pattern of the other examples.

Watch local media coverage in the upcoming days to see if this gets any play. From that last paragraph quoted above, it seems like this might not be too big of a deal, but who knows?


My big question, with Keith Davis having custody over the cash pool, in Washington DC and not in Minneapolis, is who calls the shots on what is spent, when, and how?

In effect, has The Bachmann surrendered custody and control over the cash to professional pols, in exchange for cash help?

Ultimately: Whose money is it?

If the adage, you pay the piper you call the tune, who will be calling the tune?

The tune can vary from CWFA type fundamentalist ourtage and nonsense, to slick "lower your taxes and cost you less" packaging that, for some reason I cannot figure, continues to sell with voters despite it never happening for little guys, as promised.

Then, there is last-minute negative campaigning, the mailing received by voters a day or two before election; with the printing and mailing entity unclear as to whose money is behind dirt-mongering.

The more there is a move from a single candidate run [and candidate responsible] fund, to comingling of funds and multiple funds, the more room there is for mischief, with the candidate then standing between others, pointing both ways and saying, "Not me, sir, look there." Then it is a big circle, each one so pointing and speaking, with the real culprit(s) standing outside of the denial loop and snickering.