So Complicated, Even the Lawyers Don’t Get It

How complicated is federal campaign finance law?  Well, suffice to say that many of the lawbreakers are the same lawmakers who put the law in place.  Even lawyers can’t keep up.  Take, for instance, Kentucky’s top lawyer, state Attorney General Greg Stumbo. 

According to Captain’s Quarters, which provides links to the underlying substantive evidence, Greg Stumbo, Kentucky’s Attorney General, has started his potential challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by violating federal campaign finance law.  Seems like the Captain’s analysis is correct to me.  It’s all a bit absurd, in that an exploratory committee doesn’t have to register with the FEC until the "explorer" decides to become a candidate.  But, if Stumbo has gone ahead and registered his exploratory committee with the Feds, which it appears he has, then he has to file reports, which it appears he has not.  Of course, the law often leads to absurd results.

 And as is so often the case, those in apparent violation have long lobbied for more complex, more burdensome laws.  Like Stumbo.  Stumbo wants more disclosure for candidates raising over $25,000, but here he’s talking about raising $200,000, but he’s not filing reports already required by law. 

In a world that were fair, we have no doubt that the Louisville Courier-Journal, utilizing its rights to engage in unlimited free speech under the exemption it gets from campaign finance laws that limit the rest of us, would be excoriating Stumbo.  In the world we live in, however, we have little doubt that Senator McConnell, who opposes these silly laws but complies with them, will still be the target of the Courier’s self righteous reform rap.


The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.