September 30, 2015

A "loophole" that lets candidates — like Carly Fiorina — get away with "coordinating" with Super Pacs.

The NYT seems to be sounding an alert over something completely bland and banal:
The Federal Election Commission forbids direct coordination between campaigns and super PACs, lest candidates effectively rely almost entirely on the huge, unlimited donations of a small number of billionaires. But in 2016, the groups are aggressively exploiting gray areas and loopholes in the rules, few of which the commission – deadlocked with its three Republican and three Democratic members – has hastened to close.
Oh, those terrible deadlocks. Now, what is this loophole that the Commission is allowing to exist?
Candidates and super PACs are free to coordinate their plans if the information is shared in public view.... posting video on YouTube, and... signal[ing] a preference for positive advertising [on] Twitter...
Mrs. Fiorina and other candidates... have taken it a step further: making available advance travel schedules.... Under the rules, Mrs. Fiorina’s super PAC... could not even call her campaign staff members to see where and when she is headed next. But Mrs. Fiorina has cleverly sidestepped that prohibition: Her campaign has created a public Google calendar, which it updates weeks into the future, showing the events she has planned.
Putting video on YouTube, tweeting about the kind of message you want to get out, and having an on-line calendar of upcoming events... that counts as "clever"? I guess "cleverly" bolsters the characterization of the permissibility of this speech as a "loophole" in the campaign finance law. But it's simple, obvious free speech from the candidate. I don't see how the Commission could change this or why we should feel that it should change.

The Times has a quote from campaign finance lawyer: “Essentially, it inoculates a case of coordination by making it public.” Like there's a real disease here. Inoculates.

51 comments:

Michael K said...

But, But, But she's a Republican !

Hillary coordinates with Russia and that's OK. None of those super dooper PACs

tim in vermont said...

Meanwhile Hillary associated super Pacs all tweet the same talking points after her appearance. I wonder if those talking points are publicly available. I will be sure to find something else to do while I wait for an answer on that one.

Dan Hossley said...

So the NYT's accuses Fiorina of following the law. Well, that's special. I wish they could say the same for Hillary.

tim in vermont said...

I hear she passes out the schedule by "luxury speedboat"!

Susan said...

How dastardly can you be as to stoop so low as to put a Google calendar right out on the interwebs where ANYONE at all might see it?!?!

Far better to put everything safe and sound on, say a private server in an unlocked bathroom closet, than leave it right out in public like that. Then for sure people will know you aren't conspiring.

Fernandinande said...

Dan Hossley said...
So the NYT's accuses Fiorina of following the law.


Their point is to associate her name with phrases like "loophole" and "aggressively exploiting". Gosh darn those exploiters!

rehajm said...

Also a long con. Is this a theme day?

Henry said...

Her campaign has created a public Google calendar, which it updates weeks into the future, showing the events she has planned.

I bet she also shows up on time, that loopholing sidestepper.

Original Mike said...

"But it's simple, obvious free speech from the candidate."

The left abhors not being in control.

Original Mike said...

"So the NYT's accuses Fiorina of following the law. Well, that's special. I wish they could say the same for Hillary."

Well done, sir.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I wonder if any NYT reporter has ever had a conversation with a Democrat campaign worker which in any way influenced the reporting about that campaign or its opponent? Would that not be more significant campaign coordination?

Matthew Sablan said...

Man! I hope game companies stop coordinating with me by telling me their release dates and price points.

tim in vermont said...

So when they use the term "loophole" with the name "Fiorina" that is like using the term "Climate Change" "Catastrophe" and "Mars" together, both clearly not intended to knit together some sort of meta narrative..

In neither of these cases is there any attempt to create a larger narrative at all. Ask any law professor trained, presumably, in logic.

Both are cases of rhetoric, and what rhetoric is is words that sound like logic, but aren't. If you analyze rhetoric logically, it never means what it is intended to sound like it means. Therefore, case closed! Rush is wrong!

Matthew Sablan said...

Man! I hope the President stops releasing his schedule to coordinate with people!

Schedules! And their ill-advised coordinatin'!

Big Mike said...

@Dan Hossley, very well said, sir. Very well said.

Todd said...

Dan Hossley said...
So the NYT's accuses Fiorina of following the law. Well, that's special. I wish they could say the same for Hillary.

9/30/15, 12:45 PM


It is worst than that! She nefariously followed the law!

See what I did there? I too can be a NYT "Journalist"...

tim in vermont said...

Hillary could have "inoculated" herself on the whole email thing by following the law!

Mike Sylwester said...

Mrs. Fiorina and other candidates... have taken it a step further: making available advance travel schedules.... Under the rules, Mrs. Fiorina’s super PAC... could not even call her campaign staff members to see where and when she is headed next. But Mrs. Fiorina has cleverly sidestepped that prohibition: Her campaign has created a public Google calendar, which it updates weeks into the future, showing the events she has planned.

The liberal mind at work.

eric said...

The New York Times is jealous. Super PACs are direct competition to them. If they could get rid of all the money in politics, they would have a near monopoly on speech.

These pesky politicians, like Fiorina, are thwarting their plans. Can't have that.

Achilles said...

Imagine a candidate that can release their schedule and have regular people show up at their events.

Hillary, or Biden or Sanders for that matter, are completely incapable of dealing with a slightly difficult question much less what republican candidates have to deal with at the average town hall.

Jane the Actuary said...

If other candidates are not doing the same, it speaks poorly of them, not of Fiorina.

Rumpletweezer said...

I wish we'd had these laws back in '68 so that nasty Eugene McCarthy couldn't have run against Lyndon Johnson.

Gahrie said...

Get back to me when they are as upset and worried about the fact that the Hillary campaign, the Hillary super pac and Leftwing bloggers all tweeted identical tweets at the same time this week

Brando said...

"Get back to me when they are as upset and worried about the fact that the Hillary campaign, the Hillary super pac and Leftwing bloggers all tweeted identical tweets at the same time this week"

Yeah. If anyone is going to care at all about "fair" elections or keeping money out of politics, they can start with the most egregious offender. Otherwise they can shut their traps.

Last I checked Fiorina wasn't using her position as Secretary of State to shake down foreign contributors. Save your crocodile tears, NY Times.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Transparency is secrecy, following the law is exploiting a loophole, open communication is subterfuge.

Is war peace yet?

Lars said...

Remember when the left criticized Scott Walker for "hiding" his calendar? Was Kathleen Falk exploiting a "loophole" by saying she would make her calendar public?

"Falk, a former Dane County executive who has announced she will run against Walker in a recall election expected later in 2012, said at a candidates forum:

'My calendar will be public, unlike Scott Walker's. The only reason we know he's in Florida is because of Facebook. It's bad enough that he's out of state raising these unforeseen amounts of money from billionaires and millionaires instead of working here for us. But the fact that he's on our dime and we don't know where he is, is wrong. So, my record and my schedule will be public.'"

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/mar/08/kathleen-falk/wisconsin-dem-candidate-governor-says-scott-walker/

Sebastian said...

"Like there's a real disease here."

There is. Non-Prog Deviation Syndrome. It's in the DSM-5.

damikesc said...

I'm glad Democrats, unions, and the press never coordinate or anything.

Man! I hope game companies stop coordinating with me by telling me their release dates and price points.

If only TV stations would stop coordinating with me by telling when their shows will be televised.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

I'm more concerned about closing the "Loophole" that allows Senators and Representatives to be elected again and again, while the President is limited to 10 years.

MayBee said...

Didn't Organizing for America (formerly Obama for America) run the @BarackObama twitter account for a few years?

MayBee said...

From the Twitter bio:

Barack ObamaVerified account
@BarackObama
This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.


So yes, Organizing for America ran the twitter account for the US President, and he occasionally typed his own tweets on their account using his name

Susan said...

"MayBee said...
From the Twitter bio:

Barack ObamaVerified account
@BarackObama
This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.


So yes, Organizing for America ran the twitter account for the US President, and he occasionally typed his own tweets on their account using his name

9/30/15, 3:17 PM"

But did he do it in a nefarious law abiding sort of way?

I bet not.

MadisonMan said...

And to no one's surprise, no comments are allowed on the article.

Beldar said...

"Public opinion is a sort of atmosphere, fresh, keen, and full of sunlight, like that of the American cities, and this sunlight kills many of those noxious germs which are hatched where politicians congregate. That which, varying a once famous phrase, we may call the genius of universal publicity, has some disagreeable results, but the wholesome ones are greater and more numerous. Selfishness, injustice, cruelty, tricks, and jobs of all sorts shun the light; to expose them is to defeat them. No serious evils, no rankling sore in the body politic, can remain long concealed, and when disclosed, it is half destroyed."

— James Bryce, (1888), later referenced by Louis Brandeis in Other People's Money — and How Bankers Use It (1914) ("Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman").

SGT Ted said...

I too have been inoculation myself from prosecution by obeying the law. How dastardly of me.

more NYT coordination with the Democrat party.

SGT Ted said...

It's a loophole called "obeying the law".

Fred Drinkwater said...

Yawn. Wake me when the producers of "Madame Secretary" are indicted.

Fred Drinkwater said...

SGT: Don't you know those are the WORST KIND of loopholes!? Those abusers have deliberately and with malice aforethought callously eliminated an otherwise legitimate means of crushing that speech which should be crushed.
I'd bet they don't confess this sinful behavior to their priest, either.

paminwi said...

So, don't reporters follow candidates all around the country? How the hell do THEY know where a candidate will be? Are they so SPECIAL that they can get a schedule but us lowly peons can not?

Man the media is truly insufferable these days.

The Godfather said...

"Under the rules, Mrs. Fiorina’s super PAC... could not even call her campaign staff members to see where and when she is headed next. But Mrs. Fiorina has cleverly sidestepped that prohibition: Her campaign has created a public Google calendar, which it updates weeks into the future, showing the events she has planned."

Sorry to keep bringing this up: But isn't this yet another (out of thousands!) reason why campaign finance restrictions are stupid, pointless, and ineffective? Get rid of them!

Skipper said...

Can't "we" just get rid of this rats nest of stupid law?

Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PB said...

NY Times accuses Fiorina of transparency and openness! Such things must be stopped at all costs or the rigged game will come completely apart!

Xmas said...

Fred Drinkwater,

You noticed that too? I was thinking that gravelly voiced Téa Leoni was a terrible cut out for Hillary.

Birkel said...

The idea that a PAC, a publicly traded corporation, a union or a private citizen cannot call anybody of their choosing and ask for a schedule of events is ludicrous.

Mark said...

All this talk about getting money out of politics is just cover for getting the wrong kinds of people out of politics. In this case, voters.

SGT Ted said...

A public Google Calendar that everyone can see? Where do they get off using free speech like that?

Campaign finance law is bullshit on stilts with a sparkler jammed up it's ass.

Fred Drinkwater said...

The positions of the NY Times, and the quoted "campaign finance lawyer", make campaigning of any kind beyond the pale.
- A candidate who announces a position on an issue, or allows such a position to be reported by the press, thereby makes public information which another group could "coordinate" with in case they agreed with the candidate and wished to see them elected.
- A candidate who announces the location of a meeting or rally at any time prior to the second the event starts, thereby makes it possible for another group to "coordinate" etc...
- In the event the candidate has a record in government, or (say) as a political commentator, then the mere fact they announce a candidacy makes it possible for another group to use that record to coordinate ...
etc. etc. ad infinitum.

It's a damn good thing that people who can think like that become journalists and lawyers, and not (say) civil engineers.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Wait, I take back that last line. How about "It's sad that people who can think like that find safe haven in the journalism and political professions, instead of digging ditches and washing dishes, where the harm they do can be limited."

damikesc said...

I wonder why the press seems so opposed to openness and transparency. Why SHOULD a candidate's appearances be a secret to anybody? It defies any semblance of logic.

C Stanley said...

Incredible. The Super PAC members "swooped in" after viewing Fiorina's public calendar, as if this is something nefarious.

But Sec of State Hillary Clinton used unsecured servers to share calendar information including the whereabouts of our diplomats, and terrorists "swoop in" to an outpost and assassinate them, but not a peep of concern.