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A Review by Andy Plank, Guest Columnist

Under the table contributions to“unaffiliated”organizations and are just a few of the many subversive political organizations that fund commercials to trash either President Bush or Senator Kerry. They don’t address any issues as campaigns and campaign commercials are supposed to, nor do they state any of the candidates’ opinions. They simply trash the candidate they do not support: and the vast majority of the attacks are directed towards President Bush. The television commercials, if you happen to live in a bubble and have not seen them yet, usually start with a small clip of President Bush with a factory or some other such thing and proceed to a voice-over . The message is something like, “Bush. He lost 200,000 jobs for America,” or some such thing. The latest commercial shows Bush walking in the background while displaying the message that Bush is running for reelection on the grounds of all that he has done: the whole time implying he did nothing to prevent the 9/11 attacks. This is total nonsense. Neither Gore, nor Kerry, nor anyone else could have stopped 9/11. The fact that Bush was president had no bearing on what happened.

Besides lowering the level of presidential debate, these organizations effectively make unlimited campaign contributions possible. By law there is a donation limit to any political campaign. But to and other “unaffiliated” organizations, there is no limit. These organizations, though not outwardly for or against a candidate, still have their own agendas. If you wanted to donate to the Kerry campaign you would have two options. You can donate directly to them with the $2,000 per person limit or you can give to a organization without the limit. You still would be donating to support Kerry, but you do that by donating money to an organization that trashes his opponent.

People can donate as much as they want as long as these organizations do not openly endorse a candidate. They often, as is the case in the commercials, serve to point out the various shortcomings of President Bush without directly supporting Kerry. As of yet, I have seen no independent organization criticize Kerry or any other candidates. Sometimes, the fact a voter hears a candidate’s name so many times changes that voter’s attitude if the voter is undecided as to which candidate he/she will vote for. Accordingly, if a voter hears something bad about a candidate, whether it be a lie, a positive thing with a bad spin on it, or a misquote, a voter on election day might subconsciously remember that and accept it as truth, affecting his vote.

What should we do about the scourge of people who get around campaign finance laws to support a single candidate? We should, in the next round of campaign finance laws, outlaw these commercials. They are loopholes. They serve no other purpose than to provide a way to get around campaign finance laws and support a candidate, all the while giving large donations to create negative commercials. It is a vicious cycle of events that should be broken and stopped.

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