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  • Solis' McCain-Feingold Ethics Problem

    Barack Obama can’t seem to win for losing when it comes to his nominees. Earlier this week, I wrote about the possible ethics violations committed by Congresswoman Hilda Solis, who has been nominated by President Obama to head the Labor Department. Not only was she the treasurer and on the board of directors of American Rights at Work, an organization lobbying Congress on bills she cosponsored, but she failed to reveal that information as required on financial disclosure forms until January 29.

    The nomination of Solis was supposed to be voted out of committee on Thursday, but was postponed indefinitely just after USA Today reported that her husband paid off $6,400 in tax liens against his business on Wednesday, some of which had been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

    Now the DC Examiner is reporting what could turn out to be an even more serious problem, one with potential criminal consequences. According to the report, American Rights at Work collected “at least $1 million in contributions from labor unions.” It also filed electioneering communications reports with the Federal Election Commission prior to the November election showing that ARW spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads in states targeting Republican senators.

    One of the purposes of the 2002 McCain-Feingold amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”) was to drive “soft money” out of federal election campaigns. “Soft money” refers to funds that are outside of the limits and prohibitions of the federal law and was considered one of the biggest loopholes in the campaign finance system. And one of those long-standing prohibitions is that unions are barred from spending funds to influence federal elections and making contributions to federal candidates, as are corporations and national banks.

    To accomplish the objective of getting rid of soft money, §441i(e) of FECA prohibits a candidate or an individual holding federal office or “an entity directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by or acting on behalf of” such a candidate or officeholder from soliciting, receiving, directing, transferring or spending funds in connection with an election for Federal office “unless the funds are subject to the limitations [and] prohibitions” of FECA. In other words, if Solis, as an officer and member of the board of directors played a role in “controlling” the activities and spending of American Rights at Work on “electioneering communications” that were political ads, ARW and Solis could be in violation of BCRA’s soft money rules. This could subject the offenders not only to civil penalties from the Federal Election Commission, but possible criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice if the law was knowingly and intentionally violated.

    ARW may claim that these electioneering communications that they reported to the FEC were simply issue ads that were not intended to affect the election. However, the disclosures filed by ARW self-described the ads as electioneering communications, and stated which candidates they were targeting. This latest problem raises serious questions about the involvement of Solis with an organization that received soft money funds from union contributors that are outside of the limits and prohibitions of FECA and then may have spent those funds on ads intended to affect federal campaigns. This issue needs to be investigated and Solis and ARW need to answer questions about it. The ramifications for Solis could be severe and throw even greater doubt on the wisdom of Obama’s nomination.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Solis' McCain-Feingold Ethics Problem

    1. earl, houston, texas says:

      Why am I not surprised. unfortunately, its more of the same. Almost all of these politicians are as crooked as snakes and should all be thrown out of office and banned from politics forever. A limit of 2 years should be placed on serving and no pork barrel retirements for any of them.

      Either serve your country for the reasons originally intended or don't run.

    2. Grace, Florida says:

      She should step down.

    3. Ron, Lafayette, LA says:

      Isn't it amazing that the Dems demand we follow the rule, but some how the rules do not apply to them.

    4. Charles Dunn, North says:

      Judgements based on limited experience are always faulty… you liberals are the people who voted for "limited experience"! Extremely limited!

    5. richard weirton says:

      Just another crook in the wood pile of liberal thugs. They must have all went to the school of thugery, located in Chicago.

      Remember George Bush, who only had to withdraw one. and that was because she had illegial aliens living in her house. What a difference.

    6. Lee Johnson, WI says:

      Elections have consequences, and boy did this one. Each time Obama parades another appointee before the cameras he exposes a little more of the "Real" Barack. I'm sorry, but this guy is a real empty suit. He's a great orator, but that's as far as it goes. Each day that goes by, you can see the implications of his lack of experience, questionable ethics and lack of leadership skills. All the more interesting is the elitist attitude held by the Democrat Party. They're all hypocrites with one set of standards for "them" and another for the folks that put them in office. No doubt about it, this is CHANGE WE CAN COUNT ON!

    7. Annie in Texas says:

      Here we go again with another corrupt Obama appointee. I'm beginning to wonder if any of these Democrats pay their taxes; I'm surprised that they are so lax since Biden equated paying taxes with patriotism. History will reflect that the Obama administration was the most corrupt and inept in American history and it is unfortunate that all of us must live through it, if, indeed, we do.

    8. jerry says:

      If this soft money issue really exist than the President is far more guilty than any other person and he should be charged accordingly. Check where all of his donations came from and from whom. Also check the amounts over the limit and if repayment occurred.When you spend 8 times as much as your apponent to get elected and win by just 4 percentage points the situation stinks. Why aren't the Republicans raising hell about this on a daily basis. I am not beliving that something can't be none.

    9. chris in pa says:

      Why are we surprised? This is the man who will not prove to us that he is in fact qualified to be our president. Why should we be caught unaware that BO wants to fill his surroundings with crimminals? Our only hope is in the suits that are being attempted on our behalf. When we win and he is run out of office, nothing that he has done will be allowed to remain. We need to storm the Sen/Reps to turn down everything he/pelousi/reid want. We need to get behind the grassroots movements to try to reverse this farce. The majority didn't want this, the way that the electorial college sets up, the larger cities in a state get to dictate for the entire state. Only one county in W PA wanted BO so why do the rest of us have to have the 'pretender'.

    10. Pingback: Shopfloor » Blog Archive » American Rights at Work, Cutting the Edges

    11. GM in Chicago says:

      Surprised, not me! I live in Chicago and watched the Dems, Blago, OB and Rezko, along with the mob bosses. What a tangled web. Getting an A+ in Speech class, a leader it does not make! OB's a good story teller, perhaps he should find a job making audio tapes for novalists!

      Quote: "The Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsly: "Only little people pay taxes"! There are laws for the political & wealthy & then there are those for the rest of us.

      Hopefully, the movers and shakers may soon find themselves settling to the bottom like the muck silt they are!

    12. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      Let me see now,how will the DNC find a way to blame BUSH for the SOLIS problem and many others!

    13. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Remember Nancy Pelosi screeched the culture of corruption at the Republicans in Washington just a couple of years ago. Now we have a Democrat president presiding over a cabinet of criminals! What do you expect from a socialist community organizer from the goon city of Chicago? It was probably cleaner when Al Capone roamed its streets.

    14. Barb -mn says:

      Obama has a plan to remove who he wants removed and replace with who he wants to replace. I'm sure Nancy, Harry and Barney are on the list as he knows this could gain him points.

    15. Tim T, WI says:

      Lee quote is priceless!! "Each time Obama parades another appointee before the cameras he exposes a little more of the “Real” Barack. I’m sorry, but this guy is a real empty suit. He’s a great orator, but that’s as far as it goes. Each day that goes by, you can see the implications of his lack of experience, questionable ethics and lack of leadership skills. All the more interesting is the elitist attitude held by the Democrat Party."

      Get to Dem listening sessions and unite against this socialist project called based in "community organization"!!


    16. Pingback: Tea Parties, Town halls, and Totalitarianism « A Voice in the Wilderness

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