Thursday, April 7, 2011

Leland Yee & the Hypocrisy of Campaign Finance Reform

A number of San Francisco mayoral candidates have side-stepped local campaign finance regulations by spending enormous sums of money in earlier, less regulated races. For example, the Chronicle reports that Sen. Leland Yee spent $1.1 million in a non-competitive re-election campaign, including $471,000 to his campaign strategist—15 times that strategist's going rate.

The logical explanation, of course, is that Sen. Yee took advantage of less stringent state fundraising regulations to create name identification and pre-pay his consultant.

Curiously, Sen. Yee supports regulating campaign finance, according to I wonder what he had to say when he spoke at a campaign finance reform rally a couple of years ago.

Now, I am not accusing Sen. Yee of breaking the law. However, this provides a couple of lessons:

Lesson #1: Candidates who support campaign finance regulations often find ways to dodge them; and

Lesson #2: Money will always find a way into politics so long as the government picks economic winners and losers.

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