Stuff is, as they say, happenin’. Matthew Mosk writes in today’s Washington Post:
The three Democrats on the Federal Election Commission revealed yesterday that they strongly believe President Bush exceeded legal spending limits during the 2004 presidential contest and that his campaign owes the government $40 million.
Their concerns spilled out during a vote to approve an audit of the Bush campaign’s finances, which is conducted to make sure the campaign adhered to spending rules after accepting $74.6 million in public money for the 2004 general election.
Republican commissioners defended the way the Bush campaign billed the cost of more than $80 million in television ads, which were the source of the dispute.
Of course they did. Let’s take a peek back into the Maha archives — from December 31, 2005 — “Federal Election Commission Stacked With Bush Cronies.” The stacking occurred after the 2004 election, but the stackees are the guys who are claiming Bush didn’t do anything wrong.
This story caused me to search The Maha Archives for this post from December 31, 2005: Federal Election Commission Stacked With Bush Cronies.
The FEC normally has six members, three Republicans and three Democrats. One of the Republican, Michael Toner, just resigned, but not before voting on this issue. Toner is a former attorney for Bush â€˜s election campaign staff and the Republican National Committee. The two other Republicans who voted are David Mason, a former Heritage Foundation fellow and a Clinton appointee; and Hans von Spakovsk, who became a commissioner by recess appointment in December 2005. A New York Times editorial of December 31, 2005 said of von Spakovsky,
The most objectionable nominee is Hans von Spakovsky, a former Republican county chairman in Georgia and a political appointee at the Justice Department. He is reported to have been involved in the maneuvering to overrule the career specialists at Justice who warned that the Texas gerrymandering orchestrated by Representative Tom DeLay violated minority voting rights. Senators need the opportunity to delve into that, as well as reports of Mr. von Spakovsky’s involvement in such voting rights abuses as the purging of voter rolls in Florida in the 2000 elections.
Let’s go back to the Washington Post:
The dispute centered on the use of what the commissioners called “hybrid” ads, which were intended to promote both the president and Republican members of Congress. The Bush campaign argued that it should not bear the full cost of these ads, so it split the tab with the Republican Party.
As a result, only half of the cost would count toward spending limits imposed on the campaign when it agreed to take public funds. Weintraub said the spending limit is an essential part of the agreement candidates make to accept public financing. “Bush-Cheney 2004 took the $74 million, and then they broke the bargain,” she said.
Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky, a Republican, strongly disagreed. “There was no broken bargain,” he said. “There was no violation of the law.”
Of course not, Hans.