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OUTRAGE ROUNDUP!

Even here at The Outrage we’re sometimes overwhelmed with outrage. There is so much to be outraged about in today’s news that we’re going to forgo our usual essay¬†and give you an Outrage Roundup.

We’ll start with Dallas, where school superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez pleaded guilty to a charge of using public money to furnish her apartment. The irony here is that Gonzalez had launched a widespread investigation into government corruption.

As U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins said, “Preaching honesty is important. Practicing honesty is much more important.” But how many politicians practice what they preach?

Traveling east to Kentucky, we find that public prosecutor Robert D. Thomas was arrested for attempted murder. Apparently he had a private practice on the side and started shooting two of his clients during an ordinary business meeting.

The reason for the shooting is unknown. Perhaps the clients were behind on their bill. Nearby, in Knox County Tennessee, former County Commissioner Rudy Dirl pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. Dirl will serve time for distributing cocaine.

Meanwhile, despite the widespread and continuing allegations and admissions regarding illegal fundraising during the 1996 presidential election campaign, no reform is likely. Republicans used procedural motions to block a campaign finance reform bill.

President Clinton called the Republican move “a cynical maneuver that will only breed cynicism” about Washington politics. Fine comments from a man who has done as much as anyone to breed political cynicism. Here at the DO we’re not sure how we could get much more cynical about either party.

Speaking of campaign finance, did you ever wonder who paid for the Teamsters Union elections that have recently been overturned on corruption charges? You did, of course. For some inexplicable reason, taxpayers funded the entire $22 million cost of the last Teamsters election. (So public elections are being privately funded while private elections are being publicly funded. Makes sense to us.)

A single labor lawyer, Barbara Zack Quindel, was paid almost a million dollars for her publicly financed work on the Teamsters election. Taxpayers, ever generous, even paid for the Union’s convention in Philadelphia.

Speaking of money, the proposed expansion of NATO into Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic may cost American taxpayers as much as $60 billion.

To add insult to injury, a federal appeals court has overturned the term limits enacted by California voters in 1990. Entrenched politicians have enormous advantages over challengers and won’t change the campaign finance system (see above).

But maybe we just don’t need a change — as you can see from today’s Roundup, American politicians are nothing if not honest, wise, and just.

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0 thoughts on “OUTRAGE ROUNDUP!

  1. I am _trying_ to do a report on this bill for my Sophmore Social Studies class. Well anywho, I am trying to find some reasons to support/not support this bill and frankly, after reading every outrage on this page, I still havn’t found one.

    HTW, Joe

    Time: 10/14/97 (4:10:40)

    You seemed upset that the McCain-Feingold bill got filibustered. Well, this time (and it’s rare, I’ll admit), you’re wrong. M-F would have benefitted only Democrats, stifled Public Interest groups of all stripes (any group that helps its members select candidates would be significantly and uncoscionably burdened by this bill), and made an even bigger mess of campaign finance than we already have.

    On top of that, by the standards set in the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo Supreme Court decision, it would also have been unconstitutional. In that case, the Court made it plain that, in politics, money equals speech. And that makes sense: In a country of 260 million people, money makes it possible to communicate with the electorate. Without it, challengers would have an impossible time overcoming entrenched incumbents.

    Add in the fact that the definition of “express advocacy” would be broadly expanded and even the DO, should it happen to mention support for one candidate over another sometime down the road, would find itself running afoul of the FEC.

    No, in this instance, the filibustering politicians “protecting the status quo” have it right. Mitch McConnell, soon to be Senior Senator from my state, led the fight and has the support of the oddest coalition of groups you ever saw; the NRA, the NEA, the ACLU, all agree that this bill was a turkey. They have it right: the only Constitutional reform of campaign finance laws is to get rid of them entirely.

    Cordially,
    C. Dodd Harris IV

    Time: 10/10/97 (14:44:58)

    Of course, under McCain-Fiengold, DO would be forbidden to mention politicians during election season, too.

    The U.S. Constitution isn’t perfect, but it sure beats whatever they’re using instead.

    Time: 10/9/97 (20:34:25)

    Personally, I think there’s probably dirt on both sets of hands, but Republicans are right to 86 the current campaign finance reform bill.

    It includes this lovely provision: suppose that the local school board president is convicted of child molestation, but somehow avoids prison, and decides to run for Congress. You and your friends, being outraged, raise the money to run a TV ad publizing this outrage. Well, if the Federal Election Commission decided you weren’t a legitmate advocacy group, they could block your ad.

    That’s right: the current campaign finance reform bill includes limits on *your* right of free speech!

    Time: 10/9/97 (2:31:50)

    Regarding the following which was in todays outrage. I take it you are refering to McCain-Finegold (forgive the spelling.) Hardly campain reform, more like an outrageous attack on our freedom of speach and would of done nothing about groups like the unions from funding campaigns. Senator McCain regualry outrages me and hears about it as he is one of my senators I’m embarased to say.

    Your comments follow:

    Meanwhile, despite the widespread and continuing allegations and admissions regarding illegal fundraising during the 1996 presidential election campaign, no reform is likely. Republicans used procedural motions to block a campaign finance reform bill.

    President Clinton called the Republican move “a cynical maneuver that will only breed cynicism” about Washington politics. Fine comments from a man who has done as much as anyone to breed political cynicism. Here at the DO we’re not sure how we could get much more cynical about either party.

    Time: 10/8/97 (21:53:42)

    I really enjoy DO. I am wondering what can we do to let others around this nation know what’s going on and try to correct this political nonsense.

    Time: 10/8/97 (18:56:57)

    Hah! Hey Phil…to hell with the Clinton campaigner’s going to jail. Let’s put ole slick willie himself in the slammer!

    Time: 10/8/97 (16:28:58)

    Surprised?

    You shouldn’t be! The Republicans (Sen. Lott’s Amendment) are just trying to level the playing field. When the Teamsters takes some of the money my husband sends them every month and supports Clinton and other Dems who gave us NAFTA..GO FIGURE! NAFTA has only taken away good Union jobs to Mexico. When will the union bros. get smart?

    Time: 10/8/97 (12:25:59)

    Why change a law if we’re not going to enforce the ones we have? No law can be effective if we have a crooked attorney general who ignores law breaking.

    Time: 10/8/97 (12:1:5)

    So, if you’re a politician and you make the laws, it’s okay if you break them; the laws were unfair in the first place and just invited dishonesty. Therefore, make new ones that are more fair and equitable. Of course, if you’re an ordinary mortal such as I, if you’re going 5 miles over the speed limit, or park one second over the expired time on the meter, you get a ticket! Life can’t get any better than this!

    Time: 10/8/97 (9:12:31)

    I am underwhelmed that so-called campaign finance reform will be held up. The Democrat response to Clinton’s corruption is that we need more laws. This reminds me of the old Jay Leno corn chip commercial: “Break all you want. We’ll make more.”

    Laws that aren’t enforced punish those who obey them. Let’s consider more laws _after_ we put some Clinton campaigners in jail.

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