In 2018, local democrats vying for Orange County congressional seats made frequent mention of their pledge not to accept corporate PAC money for their campaigns. And all signs seem to point to that it worked, as that strategy seems alive and well across the country as democratic candidates seek to recreate the successes of 2018.
But nonprofit government watchdogs and journalists across the country are beginning to catch on to loopholes and other schemes that House Democrats are exploiting to get around their no corporate PAC money pledge.
Sad that Bloomberg won’t be at debates so we can hear his two cents on how big money creates corruption in politics. But @ewarren has a plan for his #twocents (so all families can access to childcare and education) so I’ll joyfully go with that. Text WIN to 24477 to join! https://t.co/CptxRFbp1C
— Katie Porter (@katieporteroc) November 24, 2019
Whilst freshman Democrat Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda) is the most infamous amongst his colleagues for finding a way around the pledge, a new technique is emerging that has proven to be remarkably successful at getting big corporate money to House Democrats.
Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Irvine) is one such freshman Democrat. Not only did Porter pledge to voters in 2018 that she would not accept corporate PAC money but she has has taken it a step further by publicly criticizing other Democrats like presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg for his own political spending.
As Porter continues to raise money hand over fist ($2.4 million to date) how she is raising the money has caught the attention of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan government watchdog.
In a December 11th article, titled Corporate PAC Cash Takes a Winding Route to Democratic Senate Challengers Rejecting It, Porter’s scheme to accept corporate PAC money through leadership PAC conduits is laid bare.
While most campaign finance explanation are designed to confuse and conceal the truth from the public, Porter’s scheme is remarkably simple and easy to track. When a corporation wants to give Porter money, they simply give it to a leadership PAC first, that then gives it to her.
In the private sector this would be called money laundering, but in Congress it’s just typical politics.
To date, Porter has received over $100,000 towards her campaign through this scheme. This is slightly less than she received in 2018 ($116,000). In an October 2018, Voice of OC article, the sources of the contributions were broken down thusly:
The Democrat candidates’ campaign money sources include committees funded by the corporate PACs of private prison contractor The GEO Group; pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Pfizer; Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase; military contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon; and dozens of other major corporations.
Want to know more about how members of Congress exploit these “slush funds”, watch the two-minute 60 Minutes video below: