In an effort to head off a Hillary Clinton presidency, my wife Eileen and I set up a PAC which we called “Dick Morris’ Just Say No To Hillary” PAC. No sooner had we set it up — we haven’t begun to raise money for it yet (coming soon!!) — when we received a letter from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) saying we had to close down.
FEC regulations prohibit use of the name of a candidate the PAC is supporting in the organization’s name. The idea is to distinguish a committee for a candidate, organized under the regular election laws, and one backing and opposing issues that happen to help a specific candidate. They didn’t want voters to get confused.
So what is confusing about a PAC named “Just Say No To Hillary?” The FEC saw no distinction between a PAC using a candidate’s name to oppose her from one that used it to support her. The FEC regulation clearly applied only to PACs supporting a candidate, but the bureaucrats, eager to protect their candidate, twisted the meaning of the regulation to kill our PAC.
Our options? Litigate before the FEC (about $100,000) probably lose, appeal to the courts and likely win. Or, fold our tent and go home.
Then Eileen swooped in with a solution. Rename the PAC “Dick Morris’ Just Say No to HER!” Think anyone would miss the message? Not very likely we realized.
And so, we have filed with the FEC the new name of our PAC and, as our lawyer, Cleta Mitchell said, “let the bureaucrats chew on that for a while.”
Apart from our tale of woe, the episode illustrates the danger of all election regulations and laws — that they will be administered by partisans to favor their cause and to inhibit free speech. The endless roadblocks that have been put in the way of the Tea Party groups by the FEC and the IRS stand as prime examples.
Particularly since Democrats have been driven crazy by the Citizens United decision (about a movie in which I starred!), they have stopped at nothing to try to block the expenditures sanctioned by the Court. Some have even proposed modifying (repealing) the First Amendment to allow limitations on campaign spending without being limited by the right of free speech.
The fact is that the political process is sufficiently pluralistic that a financial advantage is no longer decisive. There are ample sources of funding outside the normal special interest channels that candidates of all stripes can be competitive. And, more important, the media is so focused on political coverage that even candidates with little or no money — e.g. Bernie Sanders — can be competitive.
So we will email you soon to ask you to give generously to “Dick Morris’ Just Say No To Her!” PAC. Get it?
View my most recent videos in case you missed them!