Quote of the Day, Never Underestimate A Campaign’s Ability To Auto-Darwinate edition.

(H/T: @TheRickWilson) The subject: a theoretical discussion of how the government could look into the possible illegal coordination of a Super PAC with a candidate. The conclusion: well, it’d be difficult. Ostensibly:

Former FEC commissioner Scott Thomas, a Democrat, doubts the Justice Department would ever look at such a case because the FEC has been so precise in detailing what is allowed and what is not.

“You’d have to show a true smoking gun, showing the candidate controlling the campaign and the super PAC,” said Thomas, a lawyer now in private practice in Washington. He can’t see campaign operatives being that clumsy: “It would have to be a smoking gun left by someone who had the intelligence of an advanced fern.”

…So somebody’s definitely gonna go to jail this cycle, then?

Notorious Democratic Big Data shop Catalist accused of violating election law.

Regretfully, I need to add an important caveat to this quote:

[It is alleged that – ML] [a]n influential demographic analysis firm founded and run by Democratic operatives with close ties to Hillary Clinton repeatedly violated federal law in 2014 by coordinating its work with dozens of congressional Democrats and the party’s three major national campaign committees.

The charge was described in a 29-page complaint filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a right-leaning nonprofit watchdog. Fifteen pages of the complaint were required to list all of the entities the accountability foundation alleged were involved in multiple violations of the Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971.

…because while I think that of course Catalist vigorously broke the law here,  I happen to be a partisan Republican hack, remember? I’m not exactly what one might call objective, in other words. You could tell me that Catalist was sacrificing baby harp seals to Cthulhu, and my immediate response would be to solemnly call for a special prosecutor in order to get to the bottom of this.

Now, that being said… federal election law is not Byzantine. The Byzantines built bureaucracies that worked for almost a thousand years, thank you very much. No, federal election law is a hot mess that is pretty much designed to look like it’s doing something all reform-like, while still allowing political operatives to run merrily through the ramshackle edifice; while both picking up, and throwing away, money as they go. So, no, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Catalist might be provably dirty. And neither does it surprise me that Catalist might have gotten sloppy, either.  This Thing Of Ours has a history rich in instructive stories about reasonably smart people who did some very stupid things over campaign contributions. Or with them. Continue reading Notorious Democratic Big Data shop Catalist accused of violating election law.

#rsrh Leaders of the PACs: Health Care Payola.

This was originally titled “Doing Well By Selling Out,” but by now, who really believed that they were sincere in the first place?

Vulnerable House Democrats who supported the healthcare bill last month reaped big financial rewards.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports show the crucial yes votes cashed in between March 21 and the end of the first quarter on March 31. They received big money from Democratic-leaning political action committees (PACs) and fellow Democratic members of Congress.

Several of these members were last-minute yes votes, which helped push the legislation to passage.

Continue reading #rsrh Leaders of the PACs: Health Care Payola.