New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore has a revealing story today about how the official campaign apparatus of the Republican party — which is supposed to abide by explicit campaign finance limits — fused during the GOP convention week with the super PACs and political non-profits that can rake in big bucks in unlimited and, in some cases, unregulated and unreported amounts.
A Republican lawyer quoted in the story, Robert Kelner, offers this eye-opening observation about all the schmoozing that went on in Tampa:
“Twenty years ago, there would have been much more aggressive F.E.C. investigations about what was said at those briefings,” he said. “So far we’re not just seeing much interest from F.E.C. enforcers.”
This despite the fact that — as our colleague, Keenan Steiner, reported earlier this week — members of the Federal Election Commmission were in Tampa for the convention, at your expense.
As careful readers of the Sunlight Foundation's blogs already know, the super PACs and political non-profits that don't abide by donation and spending limits aren't supposed to coordinate with the official party or candidate committees that do. But read Confessore's piece and you decide.
Update, 10:28 a.m. Also not to be missed: Business Week reporter Sheelah Kolhatkar's sweet scoop on what GOP strategy ace Karl Rove had to tell plutocrats at what was supposed to be a closed-door meeting in Tampa. The fact that one of them snuck a reporter into the meeting suggests that the political money game is becoming too obscene for even some of the high rollers. Good for that civic-minded donor and the reporter, as many of the shadowy non-profit groups have been less-than welcoming. Thanks to our Tampa-based, and now Charlotte-bound colleague, Liz Bartolomeo, for calling this story to our attention.
Keep an eye on Sunlght's Political Party Time for news on all the bashes the Democrats will be throwing next week. Our database is stuffed with 300-plus invites. Got more? You know where to send them.
(Photo Credit:401K 2012 via Flickr)