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Archive for June 12th, 2006

FEC donation limits no barrier to Romney

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If you’d like to see why campaign finance reform, or, rather, the lack of it, stands in the way of overhauling the ills of American elections, look no farther than Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

According to the Boston Globe, Romney “is financing the early stages of his potential presidential campaign with a novel, multistate fund-raising operation that is allowing him to maximize legal donations, outflank top Republican competitors, and minimize public scrutiny.”

Here’s how he does it: Romney has a political action committee — the Commonwealth PAC. Federal law limits contributions to federal PACs to $5,000 for individuals.

So Romney sets up affiliates of his PAC in in Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Arizona. So now his well-heeled pals can evade federal contribution limits. In this way, the Globe says, Romney can raise big bucks quickly from relatively few donors. An accompanying graphic to the story shows that some of his top donors have given between $45,000 and $95,000 in this way.

Just when I think that campaign financing can’t be contorted any further around loopholes in the law, along comes this.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 12, 2006 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Mr. Cub buying the Cubbies?

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There it was, a small summary item on Romenesko this morning — Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub himself, wants to buy the Chicago Cubs.

I clicked to the Crain’s Chicago Business story. Banks, the team home run recordholder with 512 dingers, told Dennis FitzSimons, the CEO of team owner Tribune Co., he wanted to buy the Cubbies. He was, the story says, “gently rebuffed.”

The team, experts say, could fetch $500 million. And given the new pressures on the Tribune Co. (remember what happened to Knight-Ridder?), we might see the same fate ahead for the Tribsters.

But the Crain’s story (and a short rewrite in the Chicago Trib) didn’t clearly answer my immediate question: How the hell could Ernie afford it?

True, the Crain’s story mentioned a few investors’ groups had approach Banks. But why didn’t a reporter simply ask Ernie: Ya gots the dough, Mr. Cub?

If this had been Michael Jordan buying the Bulls, you can get his finances would be reported on at the very faintest whiff of interest. Why not Ernie?

Prediction: The Cubs will be sold sooner rather than later. Newspaper chain assets are being put in play by unhappy major stockholders. So maybe Ernie’s dough (or lack of it) will eventually become reportorial fodder.

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 12, 2006 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized