Dear Thadeus of the NCJ,
John Freakin’ Fullerton, multi-term Eureka School Board member and non-HCDCC endorsable candidate/measure treasure and activist, has informed me that you would like clarification on the HCDCC’s money laundering ways.
Well I’m here to fill you in on the details. I’m not sure why you didn’t simply ask me yourself.
Before we do, let me add a little more to Councilwoman Atkin’s My Word yesterday, since this is really what this is about. The opinion piece must have struck a nerve with fellow TOS Star Trek fan Fullerton. (Hi, John btw.)
Let’s focus for a minute on this sentence from Linda’s article before addressing your and John’s questions.
Their hope is to dismantle all reliable retirement systems, including Social Security, so that you and I will live a frightening old age in poverty, while the execs and corporations rake in the billions.
Our Republican Congress, John F’s former Party, is up to the following according to Michael Phelan of Social Security Works…
Remember the Bowles-Simpson plan?
It was the proposal–later rejected–from the co-chairs of the Fiscal Commission, which attempted to cut Social Security and Medicare while also cutting taxes for wealthy Americans. And guess what? Members of Congress are trying to bring it back right now. Just yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham said he was working with a group of Senators to introduce legislation that would constitute a “mini-Bowles-Simpson.”
But as Mr. Phelan later writes…
The truth is that Social Security has a $2.8 trillion surplus, can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 18 years and approximately 80% of benefits owed after that. And all we need to do is ask the very wealthy to start paying their fair share and we can not only extend the lifespan of the Social Security trust fund, we can expand benefits for millions of Americans.
But wait, one more thing before answering your questions
From Paul Krugman’s NYT column today, Million Dollar Fraudsters
… the just-released budgets from the House and Senate majorities break new ground. Each contains not one but two trillion-dollar magic asterisks: one on spending, one on revenue. And that’s actually an understatement. If either budget were to become law, it would leave the federal government several trillion dollars deeper in debt than claimed, and that’s just in the first decade.
These are just two of the types of policy decisions John Fullerton’s former party would like us to ignore while focusing on the ethically-challenged ways of unions and Democrats.
Finally, back to your question below the fold.
Thadeus, back to your question via John Fullerton is regarding the HCDCC’s ” disreputable actions of your Democratic Central Committee’s actions in laundering money.”
Truth is, I actually agree with where John Fullerton would like the HCDCC to head, even if I disagree with his characterization. There reason I agree with John Fullerton is because of the easy rhetoric of John Fullerton and others in our mediascape. Let me explain, as I’ve tried to to HCDCC members and DHF!’s (now six! readers as one has to JF himself) in my own little way…
The HCDCC is among a few Republican and Democratic Central Committees in often rural counties in CA that accept large donations from individuals or institutions and then pass or “launder” these funds directly to the most competitive legislative battle ground. The reason is simple math, left and right is fighting for every last legislator in both CA legislative Houses.
As you must have noticed our own completely open races in the North Coast were a small “d” democratic disaster. We knew as soon as Chris Leaman stepped down who would be our State Senator and also knew that Jim Wood would have no real opposition.
So what happens is various organizations and even individuals, to include unions, trade organizations such as Realtors, etc. find ways to contribute to their candidate of choice.
Thadeus, honestly, I don’t understand why left and right does this, I mean technically. It has somthing to do with campaign limits right? Here is an article about this which may be helpful to understanding this.
But here is a good argument why we do this at the HCDCC. We take funds from unions who give us the money to spend it as we please. We then happen to spend money on important races to California Democrats and unions. If this is laundering, it’s done in the light of day with some evasion so one dollar is not linked directly from donor to recipient. That’s the legal aspect that honestly I’m not interested in.
What I am interested in is the narrative of this practice. John can define this in two words, “money laundering”, then attribute this to the HCDCC as if we are the only ones doing this and are thus the dirty ones.
We are obviously not, as I’ve written before and as John is aware. In fact there is a really good argument for the HCDCC to continue this practice. The argument goes like this – for every – whatever the number – 10 businesses there will be 1 union. As the system is set up, as long as we have a politics that resembles an oligarchy as much as a democracy, capital has a clear advantage over labor. What the HCDCC does then, in it’s little rebellious path that may not be the most straight-laced ethical one where complete transparency is not possible for legal reasons, but it is the righteous path.
It’s the path that is fighting the struggle for power defined by money …with money. The unions are the last game in town for liberals and Democrats to return sanity to our unequal society, and thanks to Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Rush and millions of good soldiers like John Fullerton unions are battling for their very existence.
And this is demonstrated by any “accounting” of the haves and have nots in our society as John as an accountant should know.
So how and why do I agree with John? I agree that the HCDCC should not be keeping any of the money we receive in large sums. If we do, we can pay the rent. The argument might be that the 7% overhead (averaged, not quid-pro-quo) is a fair deal for transactions and is necessary for any future litigation or auditing liabilities.
As the one providing the labor for this overhead, I disagree with that argument and agree with John that taking money is, well problematic. If not legally, if not ethically, if not when compared to what others are doing, then at the very least it is rhetorically problematic.
See how many words it took me to explain this to you Thadeus? Did you see how many words it took John to access the HCDCC of “disreputable actions” and “laundering money”?
Campaign finance reform is a great thing and Democrats are on the right side of this issue. We don’t believe money is speech as the 5 partisans and activist judges on the Supreme Court do. But at the same time many of us are not going to lie down and let money rule a poorly leveraged campaign finance status quo.
Thadeus, you want one final simple and real example to pull this all into perspective? Look at and continue to report on 460s. I went by the County Elections office and picked up the 460 that the Republicans have turned in late for the past several reporting date cycles.
Their 460’s are relatively simple, there rent is paid in kind by Security National. Us Democrats have to scramble to pay the rent, we are not getting this paid by Humboldt’s 0.00067%.
I largely agree with John Fullerton that the HCDCC should think about adjusting it’s practices regarding big money donations and distributions to and from the HCDCC. The reason I do is b/c I think we can and will be better if our actions match and even exceed our rhetoric. We can’t allow even a hint of impropriety b/c the stakes are so high, we are right, and in the long run we will have better policies and win more elections if we focus on people not money. Let the Republicans be the Party of Money, Democrats are best when they are the Party of The People.
(Sorry for the unrequested shout out TG – you are awesome as is your name! Keep up the good work.)