An Open Letter to Sen. John McCain, re: A Specific Corrupt Campaign Finance Practice
“Because I saw in Washington million-dollar checks and hundreds-of-thousands-dollar checks in the form of, quote, "soft money," that were contributed at the time legislation was being framed or passed. And I saw the influence of special interests.”
My rhetorical question to Sen. McCain is, does a check actually have to change hands for the corrupting influence of special interest money to come into play? Or, does independent expenditures and support by from wealthy special interests rise to the same level?
Specifically, I am thinking about the blatantly pro Republican and pro McCain (and conversely, anti Democrat, anti Obama) Fox News broadcasts. How is having a self-styled cable news network providing that much free campaign support to one candidate in a national election not as corrupt a practice as when checks pass from lobbyists to legislators? Need there be a clearer appearance of quid pro quo, before the phrase ‘corrupt practice’ is warranted?
There is no mystery here to solve; no onion to peel, no facts that need to be found. The bias of Fox News is legion. It’s efforts to directly support Republican candidates amounts to millions upon millions of dollars of financial assistance, to any national candidate so favored. That is as corrupt a practice as deliberately exceeding campaign contribution limits. Many would argue it is far more corrupt, as Fox News, and it management and ownership, is in a unique position to maximize it’s desired message regarding it’s favored candidate. Moreover, Fox News not only escapes the financial expense for purchasing expensive advertising air time, since they insert the message of support within their broadcasts, but Fox News makes money at it, while engaging in it’s corrupt campaign practices. Fox News, by inserting pro McCain (or anti Obama) messages into and throughout its broadcasted ‘product,’ and then selling advertising air time to other entities, is essentially making those other entities pay for the otherwise expensive publication of Fox News’ own political agenda.
Some people might call that “Having one’s own cake, and eating it too.’ I call it a corrupt campaign practice, that technically, only, passes within a loophole of the very campaign reform law that Sen. McCain helped author and have passed into law because of one reason. Fox News, as blatantly biased as it is, remains essentially unchallenged as meeting the standards and definition of being a news organization.
So here is my challenge to Sen. McCain. If you actually believe in the need for campaign finance reform; if you really believe that the corrupting influence of ‘soft money’ must be removed from American politics, you really need to condemn Fox News and at least reject any and all support (directly or indirectly), from Fox News, its management, and ownership. That is the minimum you need do, to escape being just another hypocritical, self-dealing, garden-variety gutter politician. And if you really want to be a leader, an inspiration, a true maverick, you should call out the management and ownership of Fox News to either clean up their partisan act, or face the results of your own then-declared commitment to see Fox News brought under the jurisdiction FEC for violations of Federal election law and regulations.
I would be greatly impressed, to see Sen. McCain take the principled stand on this matter. However, we will have to see if anything comes of it. And, as a anticipatory matter, I say the following; I would personally rather see all the cable news channels put under FEC jurisdiction, than see any candidate or party enjoy one minute more of free support.