"John said yesterday he didn't believe in these 527s. You can't say yesterday you don't believe in it, and today three-quarters of a million dollars is being spent for you."Obama has since done little to stop the flow of money from outside organizations to help him, which appears to contradict his strong statements on the matter. His primary opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), also has a 527 helping her efforts. The group calls itself the American Leadership Project, which was started by veterans hailing from the Clinton administration. The group helped Clinton in Texas, and press reports say it's also running advertising in Indiana, which has its primary Tuesday. The group introduced a hard-hitting ad in the state, prompting protests from Obama's campaign, which has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) about the group coordinating with the Clinton campaign. Clinton, like Obama, has gotten money from unions, including more than $4 million from AFSCME, which represents teachers. Clinton has supported public financing for campaigns, which suggests she supports a ban on independent groups like the one helping her. Her campaign did not comment on the group's activity for this report. In fact, the law forbids such groups to coordinate with the campaign. There have been no reports of independent groups helping McCain. But I see a dynamic developing in the campaign that has parallels to the 2004 election. The CPI included in its most recent report an incident from that campaign. Ben Ginsberg, a lawyer for the Bush campaign, also represented the "Swift Boat" group. Ginsberg wound up resigning from his post.
"We have the perfect storm. We have the first multi-billion-dollar election setting new records in funds raised, matched with the least amount of oversight ever. Worse, it could be years before the oversight problem gets resolved as billions of dollars flow unchecked into independent organizations."Massie Ritsch, communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics, concurred: "In the most celebrated democracy in the world, in the most expensive election ever, it's embarrassing and alarming that we might not have a referee on duty to ensure that everyone plays by the rules." Buzenberg concluded by questioning our democracy and our election process: "We like to tout our democracy, yet we are falling behind other democracies around the world. We require a federal standard for elections."