Rogers Cadenhead beat me to the punch last week when he published his list of questions about Jane Hamsher’s PAC expenditures. Like any good political wonk, I make a point out of looking at liberal and conservative PACs. FDL Action PAC and Accountability Now PAC are no exception. My list of questions about FDL Action PAC was quite similar to Rogers’, despite Hamsher’s public insistence to Mediaite that everything had been fully disclosed beyond the legal minimum.
FDL PAC went well beyond the level of disclosure required by the FEC, and I’m extraordinarily proud of what we managed to accomplish on a shoestring budget.
It seems the FEC disagrees with Hamsher’s claim. A March 31, 2010 request from the FEC to FDL PACs treasurer seems to indicate that no, they didn’t disclose beyond the level required by the FEC. (Full letter: PDF format) The FEC would like to know the answers to some questions that Cadenhead and I also had; namely, what the entry for “shared administrative expenses” represents and whether disbursements for “issue advertising” were subject to the requirements for advance disclosure of ad/media buys.
If I were the FEC, I’d also want clarification of the payments to KMP Research by both PACs, as well as FDL Action’s $6,075 payment to Steve Kramer for “Phone Contact Consulting”, and an explanation of how the fair market value of the Fire Dog Lake mailing list was determined before it was sold to FDL Action PAC. But for now, here are some clips of what the FEC IS asking about:
In September I wrote about a scheme hatched by Carl Forti (late of the NRCC and Freedom’s Watch) to circumvent FEC disclosure rules relating to the funding of political message campaigns. Today’s Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court granting corporate entities the right to ‘free speech’ without limitation but with disclosure of any contribution in excess of $10,000 makes this FEC ruling (PDF) all the more significant.
To come around the disclosures and anonymously fund commercials and other message campaigns, all any entity need do is hire BlackRock Group to form anonymous Limited Liability Companies. Each LLC will be funded by corporate donors. Those LLCs may then broadcast an orchestrated message crafted by Blackrock Group for or against candidates or issues with no disclosure of their original source funding.
Swiftboats just became SwiftNukes.