JANUARY 23, 2007
Already fined for violating federal election rules during her senate campaign, Hillary Clinton has devised a plan that allows her to disregard strict Federal Election Commission (FEC) spending limits during her presidential run.
The former First Lady, a fundraising machine, is the first major candidate to forgo public funding in both the primary and general election in order to avoid FEC rules designed to clean up presidential campaigns by limiting the influence of big donors in politics.
Confident after raising a record $40 million for a senate reelection campaign with dismal competition, Hillary wants to do things the Clinton way; no rules or limits. On her web site she asks potential contributors to write checks for up to $4,200, clearly indicating that she will forgo public funds for the general election if she is in fact the Democratic nominee.
Other candidates – President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry, among them–have given up public funding in primary campaigns, but not for the general election. Both men accepted more than $70 million in public funds and therefore had to abide by the federal spending limits.
Some experts predict that Clinton, with the help of her famous husband, can raise $100 million before the first 2008 primary and about $500 million by the time the election rolls around. Clearly, she doesn’t want the FEC breathing down her neck. In response to a Judicial Watch complaint, the agency fined her $35,000 last year for concealing more than $700,000 in contributions during a 2000 senate fundraiser.
Although they are serious charges, many say that campaign finance law violations are hardly the biggest concern when it comes to Clinton. One news site documents many of her recent mishaps and points out that no one knows exactly where she stands on important issues since she will do or say anything to get elected.
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