Democrats and Campaign finance

The Disclosure Act attempts to provide rules on companies that it doesn't require of unions doing the same thing, and it is generating some strong opposition from Republicans.

Even John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was the namesake for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that was partially overturned by the Supreme Court, is a strong opponent of the DISCLOSE Act.

McCain told POLITICO there isn't a single Republican senator who would support the legislation as it stands now, calling the bill "a bailout for the unions." McCain said the issue has been raised in several caucus meetings and he says fixing the campaign finance system is important, but he sees the Democratic version of the DISCLOSE Act as partisan. . . .

In other news, Biden was fined for violating campaign finance laws.

The Federal Election Commission has penalized Vice President Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign $219,000 for accepting over-the-limit contributions and a deeply discounted flight on a private jet owned by an embattled New York hedge fund, as well as for sloppy record-keeping. . . .

It found that the campaign accepted an illegal corporate contribution in the form of a round-trip flight between New Hampshire and Iowa in June 2007 for three people (it does not indicate if Biden, then a senator from Delaware, was among the passengers) on a private jet owned by GEH Air Transportation, LLC. Federal Aviation Administration records show that GEH Air Transportation is owned by the Clinton Group, a New York hedge fund controlled by George E. Hall.

Biden for President (BFP) reimbursed GEH Air Transportation, LLC $7,911 for the flight – the estimated cost of first-class airfare for three on a comparable commercial flight. But the FEC determined that the flight should have been reimbursed at a charter rate of $34,800.

FEC auditors concluded: "By failing to pay a charter rate, BFP received an in-kind contribution of $26,889 (the $34,800 owed less the $7,911 paid) from GEH,” which would be illegal, since corporations are barred from contributing to federal campaigns. Biden’s representatives “indicated that they agreed with the finding and would write a check for $26,889 to the U.S. Treasury,” the auditors wrote.

Neither Biden’s spokeswoman Alexander, nor Biden’s campaign lawyer or treasurer could immediately answer questions about Biden’s relationship with Hall or whether Biden was on Hall’s corporate plane during the flight in question.

A major Democratic donor who has contributed more than $180,000 to Democratic candidates and causes since 1999 (including $19,000 to Biden’s various committees), Hall’s firm has been implicated — but not charged — by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a New York state pension fund kickback investigation into a joint venture that paid the Clinton Group $750 million in state funds. . . .



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