William McCawley: 527 PACs

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Regarding "Dean to skip public finance for campaign" on Nov. 9, Howard Dean's decision not to use public funds to finance his campaign had nothing to do with "rejecting taxpayer money" and nothing to do with "avoiding the accompanying spending limits."

To claim that he had previously supported public financing but rejected it because President Bush undercut the Democratic process with floods of his own special interest money is laughable. So-called 527 PACs will ensure that the race for the White House will have plenty of cash on hand for both parties from special interest groups.

The fact that the Democratic Party is winning the 527 sweepstakes 3 to 1 further makes Dean's righteousness ring hallow. The Democrats have a pot of gold at the end of the nomination rainbow to the tune of about $185 million for their chosen candidate.

The 527 PACs (so named because of the IRS tax loop hole that gave them life) were a clever end run to circumvent the McCain-Feingold campaign reform imitative. Special interest groups are allowed to funnel millions into a candidate's effort without the constraints imposed by McCain-Feingold.

Further, the individuals or groups behind these 527 PACs fly largely below radar, not subject to the disclosure required by the recent campaign reform legislation.

It doesn't surprise me that Dean would attempt to make political hay over an issue that is an ever increasing fact of the political landscape. But shame on both parties and their clever money people for figuring a way around campaign reform.

William McCawley

Steamboat Springs

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