In the District, a Mockery of Campaign-Finance Law

Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King observes that when it comes to finding ways to make ethically and legally questionable contributions, national GOP operatives have nothing on their imitators in Washington, D.C., government.

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Colbert I. King writes in his Washington Post column that Republican presidential candidates, most notably Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, have nothing on politicians in the District of Columbia when it comes to making a mockery of campaign-finance law. 

The mockery of campaign finance laws evident in fundraising and spending among the Republican presidential candidates, most notably by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, is imitated in D.C. elections. True, the city’s politics are on a different scale. Still, when it comes to finding ways to make ethically and legally questionable contributions, national GOP operatives have nothing on their District imitators.

To skirt the spirit, if not the letter, of the law on contribution limits, one common instrument both groups use both groups is the limited liability company (LLC). In business terms, an LLC shields the owner from personal liability, and all profits and losses pass directly to the owner without taxation of the LLC itself. What’s more, an LLC does not have to disclose the owner’s identity.

A single donor, therefore, can use LLCs to give sums many times the maximum an individual can contribute. It’s done by creating and using multiple LLCs under an owner or single entity to funnel multiple contributions to the same political campaign. That makes a joke of contribution caps. 

Skirting limits is even more odious when ethically and legally questionable contributions are accepted by the same elected officials who are responsible for overseeing campaign finance laws.

Read Colbert I. King's entire column at the Washington Post.

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