Chairman Smith in and at the Post

CCP Chairman Brad Smith had an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post on the Obama campaign’s fundraising. A few select excerpts and comments:

…Obama’s epic fundraising should put to rest all the shibboleths about campaign finance reform — that it is needed to prevent corruption, that it equalizes the playing field, or that tax subsidies are needed to prevent corruption.

Don’t expect those misguided efforts to change the system to end here, though. While Obama is benefiting from a fundraising advantage this year, in most elections since the 1960s, Republicans have held a spending advantage. Democrats always complained that that was unfair. Where are they now? Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if some Republicans suddenly become champions of "reform" after this election…

…In theory, Obama thinks something is wrong — he claims to support campaign finance "reform," including more limits on private contributions and support for taxpayer-funded campaigns. But sometimes, actions speak louder than words. Much louder.

We are constantly told by reform advocates (including, in the past, Obama) that large contributions corrupt the candidates. Indeed, Obama has called money "the original sin" in politics. But the Democratic nominee obviously doesn’t feel corrupted by the contributions to his effort. Indeed… the campaign is "proud" of the donors who constitute "the backbone" of the campaign [and] argue that the reason Obama’s fundraising machine doesn’t pose a threat of corruption is that his campaign is somehow different: Contributions to Obama’s campaign come from millions of small donors, not from "fat cats."

…Obama has indeed attracted record numbers of small contributors, many giving just a few dollars over the Internet… Obama is also likely to raise twice as much money in contributions of $1,000 or more than any previous candidate in history. In short, if every small contribution, however defined, were taken away from the Obama campaign, he would still have raised more money in large contributions than any candidate before — by a very substantial margin. Yet Obama isn’t worried about any corrupting effects of all this cash, and neither are his supporters, who continue to open their wallets.

Chairman Smith will be online today at the Post’s Web site discussing Senator Obama’s fundraising and campaign finance regulation in general, if you have any questions or comments you can submit them here.

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