The Vitter-for-governor boomlet hasn’t yet fully bloomed and the Sinator’s allies have already injected the corrosive post-Citizens United money chase into the electoral calculus.
According to the Times-Pic, the Fund For Louisiana’s Future (or, VitterPAC, as we’ll refer to it) is challenging the current Louisiana contribution limits:
Lawyers for the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, the Super PAC created to support Sen. David Vitter, R-La., say Louisiana’s Board of Ethics really doesn’t have a choice but to grant its request to end enforcement of Louisiana’s $100,000 limit on independent committee donations.
If the ethics board agrees, the result could be million-dollar contributions to campaign committees in Louisiana — much as is the case already for super PACs nationally.
The Supreme Court‘s 2010 ruling that equated spending on independent political expenditures with free speech, and a follow-up ruling by a Washington D.C. appeals court, makes it clear that such limits are unconstitutional, lawyers for the Fund for Louisiana’s Future say.
This challenge is in line with the longterm trend among rightwingers throughout the country to challenge any contribution limits as abridgments of free speech. This project, hatched by arch-conservative activists decades ago (like James Bopp), hopes to remove the reigns of contribution limits in order to allow giant business and activist donations to mostly conservative causes. The richest 1%, now unburdened by contribution limits, can now more easily control politics and affect policy to maintain or expand inequality to their advantage, or work on any number of rightwing fantasies (banning abortion, privatizing all services, dismantling the social safety net, etc.). That’s the whole game.
Anyway, VitterPAC isn’t waiting until it passes go before it fires a warning shot: it will be aggressively fighting to open the floodgates of arch-conservative cash to out-spend Vitter’s potential rivals in the 2015 LAGOV race. In a small state like Louisiana with cheap media rates, a Romney-esqe SuperPAC pummeling Vitter’s opponents would be essential to deflect from the inevitable rehashing of the “serious sins” that will no-doubt play much larger in the parochial Governor’s race than it did in the anti-Obama Senate race.
Laughably, and typically, the VitterPAC claims it HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DAVID VITTER’S CAMPAIGN:
Still, [Lawyer] Ryan said that both federal and state regulators, as well as the courts, need to tighten definitions of independent expenditures, which, under the Supreme Court ruling, can be funded with unlimited donations from both corporations and individuals. He wonders how the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, which was formed entirely to back Vitter’s political campaigns, can be truly independent of the Republican senator.
In their filing with the ethics board, Spires, who chaired Mitt Romney’s Super Pac during the 2012 presidential campaign and Tyrrell insist their Super PAC is indeed independent.
“Written confidentiality and firewall policies are in place to ensure that Fund for Louisiana’s Future will in no way coordinate its political communications or activities with any candidates, their committee or their agents,” they wrote.
According to campaign finance data, Galliano Marine Services of Cut Off, and GMAA LLC, a New Orleans medical business operated by Keith and Mary Van Meter, each contributed $100,000 to Vitter’s PAC in April.
These filings always trail the contributions by months. The Louisiana Democratic Party has adeptly scooped up www.VitterForGovernor.com, which highlights one of VitterPAC’s latest fundraisers, a gator hunt in May. We’ll continue to follow the VitterPAC money here.
Our very own Sinator, “Diapers” David Vitter has got a new crusade in the Senate with a very unlikely partner. Vitter, whose knack for picking unique and animating policy positions have sustained him throughout his darkest, most serious sins, is teaming up with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio to tackle “too-big-to-fail” banks. If you aren’t aware, Brown is a committed progressive who was reelected this past year in a hotly-contested race in Ohio. Brown’s win was decisive and impressive, especially considering the amount of conservative money spent against him. Over $40m flowed into Ohio from tea party groups focused on dethroning the liberal firebrand. Ohio’s battleground status is well-earned, and Brown’s progressive politics don’t define the entirety of the diverse state, making his easy win that much more impressive.
This is all said to describe how strange it is that David Vitter, no doubt a hard-right conservative, has joined hands with a committed progressive like Brown to take on an issue that truly joins the “occupy” and “tea party” politics: the evil of Big Banks.
This strain of populism is not difficult to recognize as a commonality between these two men. Yet, considering the GOP extremism these days, it’s almost shocking to see a committed conservative with future electoral hopes dare to work with a “known” progressive. Yet that’s where we are:
Now, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with unlikely ally Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), is launching an effort to break up the taxpayer-funded party on Wall Street.
“The best example is that 18 years ago, the largest six banks’ combined assets were 16 percent of GDP. Today they’re 64-65 percent of GDP,” Brown said. “So the large banks are getting bigger and bigger, partly because of the financial crisis, partly because of the advantages they have.”
Brown and Vitter announced on Thursday that they were working together on bipartisan legislation to address this problem.
“I think the fact that Sen. Brown and I are both here on the floor echoing each other’s concerns, virtually repeating each other’s arguments, is pretty significant,” Vitter said Thursday in his Senate floor remarks. “I don’t know if we quite define the political spectrum of the United States Senate, but we come pretty darned close. And yet, we absolutely agree about this threat.”
In his floor remarks, Brown underscored the urgency — and the challenge — in breaking up the biggest banks.
“Just about the only people who will not benefit from reining in the megabanks are a few Wall Street executives,” he said.