Transfer bill is a political shell game

Published 11:54 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It’s a shell game.  We see two shells stamped in bold letters:  “ethics” and  “transparency.”  But when we look under the shells, we find neither ethics nor transparency.

It is a sophisticated game played by ruthless experts. I even voted for the No PAC to PAC Transfer bill.  I didn’t see the looming destruction.  Neither did some other legislators and many Alabamians.

It seemed simple on its face.  Prevent money from being transferred from one Political Action Committee to another.  That way we have transparency and know who or what is funding each candidate.   But that’s just the shell.  The game is cut-throat politics.  Let me tell you what is really happening under these shells marked “ethics” and “transparency.”

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The new law says that a PAC cannot give money to another PAC.  That appears to be alright until we examine the description of a PAC.  Here’s the heart of the definition.  And I quote:  “Any group of one or more persons which receives or anticipates receiving a contribution or makes or anticipates making expenditures to or on behalf of any elected official, proposition, candidate, principal campaign committee, or other Political Action Committee.”  It’s so broad it covers nearly everything that moves.

The political effects of this change stops money from going to virtually every Get Out The Vote effort in the African American community.  See these phrases: “one or more persons”; “which receives or anticipates receiving contributions”: and “makes or anticipates making expenditures.”  One cannot get-out-the-vote without receiving and or expending monies.

On top of all this, no PAC will be able to give to political parties.  Neither will candidates be able to give to parties for Get Out TheVote efforts.  They are limited to qualifying fees and tickets for dinners, dues etc. with a cap of $5,000.  By their definition, a political party is a PAC.  In fact, nearly everything may be considered a PAC and therefore cannot give to anything considered a PAC.  I know that’s circular but this law runs in circles.

Finally, this new law makes it a felony for PACs, including candidates, to give to Get Out the Vote efforts.  If you make a mistake, you can go to prison for as long as 10 years.  This potential for prison has a chilling effect on all GOTV activities.

It is cut throat partisan politics operating as a shell game.