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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
A blog 'for independent minds'
Did Warren Break Campaign Finance and Ethics Laws?
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rob Meltzer
March 19, 2014 11:21 a.m.



We have been discussing previously whether the Senate ought to open an ethics investigation into Senator Squaws deceit about her ethnic heritage, but her conduct in the past week raises more troubling questions, like whether she ought to go to jail.

One of the most puzzling legal thickets facing sitting politicians today, particularly in the era of Citizens United, is the fine line between financial cash of a PAC and the financial muscle of a individual and, as we are learning in Washington and elsewhere, what constitutes a “shadow campaign” and whether you can use your resources to benefit your cronies.  It also raises fundamental questions as to what asset a sitting politician “owns” outright, what belongs to donors and what is retained by the people. By way of example, can a politician use campaign money for  social media services, or use social media services to which others have access, for political or partisan purposes after an election and not directly geared toward the election for which it was raised, to benefit another? And, more interesting, can a sitting politician use campaign money, or campaign staff, or other campaign resources, in the services of another candidate, or does that make the sitting politician a donor, an advocate, or, even, a criminal? There is a reason that national organizations raise money to be used nationally–donors know that money raised for that purpose will be used for that service. For novice politicians, there is this weird borderland of free speech and campaign finance law and “what is mine is mine” attitude that you wouldn’t expect from Warren, or maybe you would. What is clear is that sensible politicians in the past three years, which does not include the corrupt Washington mayor, and apparently Warren, is that you have to be really careful about where your money comes from, how you use it, and whether money or campaign assets raised for one campaign can be shifted to another and whether your mouth belongs to you or your constituents or how it is going to be construed. The ability of politicians to use social media has created a firestorm of questions about how a sitting politician uses social media clout to raise money for another politician.

In other words, even as this debate is raging, Warren decides to raise money for Shaheen, and she does it using resources whose ownership is unclear. Is she allowed to use email to raise money for sheehan, or direct mail resources? Who owns them and why were they donated? Leaving aside the fact that what she is doing is politically stupid and is likely to cause immense political blowback against her, there is substantial doubt about the legality of the $40,000 she is bragging she raised for Shaheen last week.

As 2014 approaches, politicians have been asking these questions in a vacuum because no one has wanted to be the test case for whether political support for another candidate in the modern electronic world constitutes campaign finance abuse, but apparently Warren has stopped forward and raised her hand to be the test case.

Both the Senate Ethics Committee and the FEC, now need to step forward and investigate Warren’s recent conduct in New Hampshire, and how that money was raised, and whether Warren went a tad too far.

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