CCP and David Axlerod: A Meeting of Minds

Well this is certainly an interesting development.

David Axelrod, the former top political adviser to President Barack Obama, called for the end of candidate contribution limits as a way to wrest control of elections from the less accountable super PACs and other groups that have proliferated since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.

It’s a bit premature to start thinking Axlerod, after helping President Obama rail against this side of the campaign finance debate for the last five years or so — has developed a more politically libertarian view of campaign contributions. But it does appear that even he’s beginning to understand that cutting out the middleman (the PACs and super PACs) means that direct contributions to candidates will likely go much further toward actually benefitting that candidate — something the donor ostensibly wants when they give their money to a super PAC.

Although a recent tweet from Axlerod — “Campaign finance system is a mess. Limits have just created a cottage industry for lawyers who devise schemes to circumvent them.” — might be putting the focus on the wrong thing. Blaming the current state of affairs on lawyers’ desires to have things to do presupposes that the years of campaign finance debate that led to the system as it exists today are irrelevant. And that’s a silly and patently false spin on the matter, leading one to wonder what the end game might actually be. Nonetheless, it’s something we’ll continue to watch and, for now, we agree Mr. Axlerod.

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