How Congressional Black Caucus got around McCain-Feingold

posted at 11:40 am on February 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In the wake of the Citizens United v FEC decision by the Supreme Court, Democrats in Congress have pledged legislative action to restore the rejected components of the McCain-Feingold legislation, claiming that they have a mission to stop corporate influence on elections.  Some have suggested amending the Constitution to limit the First Amendment.  However, as the New York Times reports today, one select group of Democrats have had no problem cultivating corporate influence, and doing so by working around the McCain-Feingold restrictions their party claims to champion:

When the Congressional Black Caucus wanted to pay off the mortgage on its foundation’s stately 1930s redbrick headquarters on Embassy Row, it turned to a familiar roster of friends: corporate backers like Wal-Mart, AT&T, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco company.

Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house.

Most political groups in Washington would have been barred by law from accepting that kind of direct aid from corporations. But by taking advantage of political finance laws, the caucus has built a fund-raising juggernaut unlike anything else in town.

It has a traditional political fund-raising arm subject to federal rules. But it also has a network of nonprofit groups and charities that allow it to collect unlimited amounts of money from corporations and labor unions.

From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, according to an analysis by The New York Times, an impressive amount even by the standards of a Washington awash in cash. Only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee; the rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network. (Data for 2009 is not available.)

Now, consider that $55 million in light of the outrage expressed over the last few weeks over the court’s Citizens United decision.  Here’s Barack Obama, scolding the court during the State of the Union speech:

Open the floodgates for corporations? Spend without limit? Bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests? Maybe Congress should first pass a bill that stops members of Congress from shaking down corporations to pay off mortgages.  The CBC has spent the windfall on annual casino outings, big Beltway parties, golf trips, and more.  In one instance, they held a fundraiser for scholarships and spent more on the caterer than they did on funding education.

Where did the rest of the $54 million go over the past five years? It went to establishing Congressional incumbents into a power network that illegitimately handicaps challengers in Congressional elections. And what let them do it? The campaign finance laws that Democrats insist were blocking corporate influence before Citizens United.

We don’t need limitations on free speech.  We need limitations on the free lunch that incumbents get in Washington, and the McCain-Feingold bill should be the first thing to go.


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how much of that “charitable” work ended up being administered by family members of the CBC?

rob verdi on February 14, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Hypocrisy, thy name is Democrat.

uknowmorethanme on February 14, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Not. Surprised. At. All.

OhioCoastie on February 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I wonder how much acorn gave them, the money we taxpayers are paying acorn?
L

letget on February 14, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I guess the NYT is now a racist organization, too. They can expect a visit from Sharpton and Jackson first thing Monday morning, so that this non-story can be ‘corrected’ with ‘all the facts’.

The first ‘fact’ to be presented: Republicans do this all the time. Why, back in 1920…

Liam on February 14, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Priceless.

myrenovations on February 14, 2010 at 11:52 AM

The first ‘fact’ to be presented: Republicans do this all the time. Why, back in 1920…

Liam on February 14, 2010 at 11:50 AM

To be fair, Democrats were the racist part in 1920.

uknowmorethanme on February 14, 2010 at 11:55 AM

part = party

uknowmorethanme on February 14, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Where did the rest of the $54 million go over the past five years? It went to establishing Congressional incumbents into a power network that illegitimately handicaps challengers in Congressional elections.

Typical Washington business. Nothing new here.

Move along folks.

/s

donh525 on February 14, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Like many things, this racial blackmail is coming to an end. Hope they enjoyed it while they had it, and saved some for the rainy day that’s coming.

JiangxiDad on February 14, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Not only is the article Racist, but it’s also George Bush’s fault.

BruceB on February 14, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Inspector Renault was shocked to find corruption…

Jeff2161 on February 14, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house.

Probably assessed at 30 million.

Jeff2161 on February 14, 2010 at 12:00 PM

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS FOUNDATION’S
ANNUAL PHOENIX AWARDS DINNER
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.
===========================================================
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-The-President-At-The-Congressional-Black-Caucus-Foundations-Annual-Phoenix-Award-Dinner

canopfor on February 14, 2010 at 12:01 PM

When did the NYTimes turn racist?

rbj on February 14, 2010 at 12:01 PM

It’s similar in nature to the loopholes used by George Soros and his merry band of Progressives, who have found an easy way to spend millions promoting Liberal Democrats election and re-election campaigns, thus skirting EVERY U.S. election finance law.

Every time one of our extremely intelligent Congress critters writes legislation, the process winds up so convoluted it become increasingly EASY to do an end-around.

And these folks want to control one-sixth of the nation’s economy by running Obama Care? Just imagine how many loopholes there are already in that 2,000+ pages of Socialism!

GoldenEagle4444 on February 14, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Amen Ed… Very well stated!

Keemo on February 14, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Jesse Jackson approves of these shakedown methods.

Knucklehead on February 14, 2010 at 12:05 PM

To be fair, Democrats were the racist part in 1920.

uknowmorethanme on February 14, 2010 at 11:55 AM

As were Pubs, so your point is moot. Next! /sarc

I can also see Sharpton and Co. saying events like this are precisely why we need McCain-Feingold even though this was happening under the full monte of McC-F.

We really need to stop being so racist and learn how to think as if with two brains that don’t like each other. Then we can all also be progressive, and be right on all counts. /more sarc

Liam on February 14, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Wake me when a democratic group is accused of acting with integrity instead of corruption.

chemman on February 14, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Washington D.C. is filled with The American Taliban.

They impose laws on us that and burdensome and unwanted.
They threaten us and our families if we do not conform.
They live the high life while asking for our sacrifice.

The American people need to conduct Operation Washington D.C. Storm. Throw out the American Taliban.

They’ve already had their notice.

donh525 on February 14, 2010 at 12:08 PM

From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions

So that’s what the mob calls it nowadays?

BallisticBob on February 14, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Watch for any riders or attachments on ANY bill coming out of Pelosi’s House. Hint: It will be in fine print.

Rovin on February 14, 2010 at 12:12 PM

If they want reform, why restrict contributions from Big Business? How about restricting contributions from Big Labor, Big Environment, and MoveOn.Org as well?

DL13 on February 14, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Liberals think that laws apply to everyone but themselves and that is why they try to make them so restrictive; to handicap their opponents.

docdave on February 14, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Racist BS! Blacks and Hispanics can have groups specific to race but if some white guy tries it BOOM. I’m sick and tired of hyphenated “Americans” and racial politics — and its gotten worse under our so-called “post-racial” president.

johnsteele on February 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM

A Tea Party question:

Haven’t you noticed how all these average, middle class people go to Washington and then—after a few years of “public service”—they’ve turned into millionaires?!

The Clintons. Gore. Terry McAulliff. Rahm Emanuel. Billy Tauzin. Tom Daschle. Franklin Raines.

Just a very partial list. And that’s just the pols. Many bureaucrats have left “public service” to cash in on their insider information.

jeanneb on February 14, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Libtards hate a level playing field. They hate free speech when it criticizes them, Mostly they hate choice unless it involves a mother killing her own children.

Why is a race based caucus even legal?

Mojave Mark on February 14, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Them folks have all been ordering new freezers lately.

bayview on February 14, 2010 at 12:27 PM

National
Association for the
Advancement of
Certain
People

Akzed on February 14, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Black Congressional Caucus is the most racist entity. Their elections were race based. Their group name is race based. Their policies are all race based. Some racism is perfectly ok.

bayview on February 14, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Wal-Mart, AT&T, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Altria all companies that have been subject to Sharpton/Jackson shake downs. It’s no surprise that the Black Caucus has joined the party. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s lucrative. Plus the caucus has the ability to reward its friends and hurt its enemies more so than the two aforementioned thugs. This kind of stuff will not end well. Google Igor Panarin.

Mason on February 14, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Noe somee needs to go back and see how much money Fannie mae, Freddie Mac, and their “foundations” gave to the CBC Foundation over the last decade and a half. I guarantee the numbers will dwarf what you see here. Fannie and Freddie owned the CBC, and I knew people at Fannie who used to joke about it openly.

rockmom on February 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Somehow all this bla extortion must be stopped!

tim c on February 14, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Affirmative action, Washington D.C. style.

capejasmine on February 14, 2010 at 12:51 PM

$55 Million is chump change…

How much money and who has profited more by the Community Investment Act, Fanny Mae, and Freddy Mac over the past thirty years, and what lead to our economic collapse?

Slavery reparations, and if you complain about it…

(wait for it, wait for it…)

You’re a racist!

Seven Percent Solution on February 14, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Corporate influence: BAD!
Union influence: GOOD?

Dandapani on February 14, 2010 at 12:59 PM

So the members of the CBC are slaves to Corporate America. Nice work, CBC. Nice.

SouthernGent on February 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Now we know why the Democrats condemn the SCOTUS decision so vehemently. It cuts some of the puppet strings that they use to control and shake down American corporations, and may assist corporations to free themselves from the bonds of corruption and BLACKmail of the CBC.

jay12 on February 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM

The reason they get away with this is through various “black”mail schemes, as well as no one having the guts to question them.

wildcat84 on February 14, 2010 at 1:23 PM

This sounds like a legislative version of ACORN. What a bunch of elitist thieves.

Zorro on February 14, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Let’s create a scenario.

An individual runs based on his race, even attacking the race of his challenges. He’s elected based on race, promising to enact policies that help his race. Then he joins a Congressional caucus that only permits people of his race to join. He proceeds to demand things for people of his race.

If he’s white, he’s a racist who should be thrown out or resign. If he’s black, he’s welcomed with open arms and given high positions of power.

I get the feeling we’re not quite living up to Martin Luther King’s whole “not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character” vision.

amerpundit on February 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM

“The Capitalists will sell us [the Communists] the rope to hang them with.” –Vladimir Lenin

(…or the Capitalists will pay for the office space the Communists need to hang them, just as dead, but without any rope.)

RBMN on February 14, 2010 at 1:52 PM

***
The Congressional Black Caucus looked anti-American and pro-communist when they went to Cuba last year and praised Fidel Castro’s tyrannical regime.
***
And they looked racist when they complained about not having Black persons more involved in the Haiti aid missions.
***
And they look corrupt in this taxpayer funded extortion scheme.
***
They keep giving good Black Americans a bad name. Al Capone would have liked their style. Vote these “democRAT” / liberal / socialist / statist / marxist / communist clowns out in the 2010 election TSUNAMI. They stink to high Heaven.
***
John Bibb
***

rocketman on February 14, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Money Laundering.

It sounds so bad when criminals do it.

But it is perfectly acceptable for politicians to use charitable fronts for those means.

Perhaps a RICO investigation is called for.

ajacksonian on February 14, 2010 at 2:10 PM

The McCain-Feingold bill required cooperation, which we saw from Obama’s decision in the election…..is completely missing.

That effort was shot down, by Obama. There is no doubt about it.

AnninCA on February 14, 2010 at 2:25 PM

There is no doubt about it….indeed!

dmann on February 14, 2010 at 2:43 PM

McCain-Feingold bill should be the first thing to go.

Amen to that.

What? Not agnostic enough.

mechkiller_k on February 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, General Motors (of course), and AT & T — all spending millions of dollars to support institutionalized racism.

In a just world, this would be the scandal of the decade and would bring about the firing of the CEO, Board Chairmen, and senior executives of all four companies, and spur a complete overhaul of their foundations and political and “charitable giving” operations.

Instead, reactions to the news vary from yawns to spirited defense for racism.

Heh.

Jaibones on February 14, 2010 at 3:37 PM

I get the feeling we’re not quite living up to Martin Luther King’s whole “not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character” vision.

amerpundit on February 14, 2010 at 1:38 PM

I’ve been saying it for years: A significant majority of black Americans seem to completely reject the single message for which Martin Luther King was known. These individuals don’t want to judged by the content of their character; they want to be given goodies and concessions based on the color of their skin.

Millions of Hispanics and Asians play the same pathetic game.

Jaibones on February 14, 2010 at 3:46 PM

The most stupid group of black people ever

take another trip to Cuba and fellate Castro some more

Sonosam on February 14, 2010 at 4:32 PM

I’m sure the Congressional White Caucus plays the same games. What? There isn’t a CWC? That’s odd…

KS Rex on February 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

The CBC has spent the windfall on annual casino outings, big Beltway parties, golf trips, and more. In one instance, they held a fundraiser for scholarships and spent more on the caterer than they did on funding education.

How is this not against the law? These Money laundering Fat Cats are busy padding their own pockets at the expense of the people they are supposed to represent. Where are the ethics probes? Throw the bums out!!

TN Mom on February 14, 2010 at 5:01 PM

An excellent write-up, Ed. Reading it, I don’t even want to say what kind of contempt I was filled with thinking of that SOTU SCOTUS scene. This crap is the way government works. There isn’t a law possible that can prevent these kinds of workarounds, which is why government must be limited to essential functions. Obama’s big government agenda MUST be corrupt; he knows it but doesn’t care, because it is his people that are on the take. Of course, if a different crowd is benefitting from the status quo, that’s patriarchal, racist, or whatever. What a disgrace.

paul1149 on February 14, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Why do we still have a Congressional Black Caucus anyway?

Big John on February 14, 2010 at 5:28 PM

I wonder what the Congressional Black Caucus would say about a Congressional White Caucus? This caucus is discriminatory both against non blacks, but also against blacks who happen to be republicans. Thus, as is the case with everything liberal and progressive their name is a lie, as they outlaw political viewpoints from the caucus unless you’re from the democrap plantation and outlaw diversity because of one’s skin color while proclaiming they are the avant garde for tolerance of everything (except apparently conservatism or republicanism).
Anyway this is an interesting time for this posting, given how New York is aflutter with the misuse of not for profits by politically connected democrap politicians (many of who wonder of wonders are ‘minorities’). In fact one democrap is currently under indictment for such shenanigans including billing for a $177 bagel. Oy vey! (BTW wouldn’t that be antisemitic for said pol to claim that a bagel place-run by persons of the Jewish persuasion, charged a black man fifty times the going rate for a bagel with a shmear? Anyway, the misuse of non profits by democraps is legendary, but it is sad that Pres Bush did not have his attorney general investigate such matters. Of course, he was dealing with higher priorities in the War On Terror, but still this has been a cancer on the body politic for at least a decade and a half.

eaglewingz08 on February 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Why do we still have a Congressional Black Caucus anyway?

Big John on February 14, 2010 at 5:28 PM

To make up for slavery. If you have to ask that question, you might be a racist.

Liam on February 14, 2010 at 6:59 PM

The CBC sounds like it meets the definition of a criminal enterprise quite nicely. Given its overtly racist orientation, maybe instead of Congressional Black Caucus, Kongressional Black Kaucus would make for an acronym that was a little better fit.

drunyan8315 on February 14, 2010 at 7:00 PM

45 years of “The Great Society”…at least a TRILLION dollars of spending on Welfare and associated programs…..

….and the African-American community still votes 99.99999% for the Liberal Democrats that tell them they will continue to funnel money to their collapsed communities.

And people talking about the states and fed gov being under financial pressure because of the Unions? Baby the Welfare Lobby is just as powerful as the Unions….and the weight of both is going to eventually force the FedGov and states to either start seizing industries and private property or to cut back on spending, or raise taxes to a never before seen level.

Hey Congressional Black Caucus…..how about trying something that will REALLY HELP YOUR COMMUNITY instead of just waiting for handouts for your voters?

God help this country, we’re in doo doo like we’ve never seen before peoples.

PappyD61 on February 14, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Why do we still have a Congressional Black Caucus anyway?

Big John on February 14, 2010 at 5:28 PM

We need the Congressional Black Caucus to provide balance for the Congressional White Caucus…..oh…wait…..

(Apparently there’s a rule against certain races having their own caucus. How many races have this problem? Uh…..let me see….the answer would be…ONE! But we are assured that this is NOT discrimination.)

landlines on February 14, 2010 at 9:28 PM

This is NEWS–the New York Slime actually printed an unflatttering story about the CBC?!?!?! What next–they run a story about who really wrote Obama’s fictional biography??

FalseProfit on February 14, 2010 at 9:38 PM

It’s funny how all the cries of America being founded with slavery yet they vote as if they can’t wait for another set of chains to be applied.

Sonosam on February 14, 2010 at 9:46 PM

Racist BS! Blacks and Hispanics can have groups specific to race but if some white guy tries it BOOM. I’m sick and tired of hyphenated “Americans” and racial politics — and its gotten worse under our so-called “post-racial” president.

johnsteele on February 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Yeah, but if we had our own caucus, it’d be the

Congressional Caucasian Caucus…the CCC. Then all hell would break loose. “It sounds like the KKK!!!!!!”

heads explode, RAAAAACISM abounds, etc, ad nauseum.

viviliberoomuori on February 14, 2010 at 9:55 PM

I don’t get it. If you can’t take corporate money, then just because they put it into a different account, it’s still corporate money, isn’t it? Anyone could do this, couldn’t they? What am I missing here? Be nice, just asking.

gina4 on February 14, 2010 at 9:58 PM

CBC = modern-day overseers.

I want Maxine Waters and James Clyborn on Morning Joe tomorrow morning answering for this sh*t–those lousy pieces of sh*t.

BuckeyeSam on February 14, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Democrats = “free speech for me but not for thee”

olesparkie on February 15, 2010 at 7:50 AM

I’m not sure how but you can be sure that Bush is either behind this or that they are only doing what he did.

Mason on February 15, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Does anyone really think an MSM org or the government is going to look into anything regarding the CBC?

jwp1964 on February 15, 2010 at 12:42 PM