Monday, May 05, 2003

New campaign finance documents show Dubya's appreciation for at least one fundamental tenet of the capitalist system: value for money. Going down the list of "Pioneer" donors, committed to raise at least $100,000 for the campaign:

The top Pioneer was the team of William Dewitt and Mercer Reynolds, Cincinnati businessmen who raised $605,082. After the election, Mr. Reynolds was appointed ambassador to Switzerland, though he recently stepped down. Both men have a long history with Mr. Bush: In 1984 their oil company, Spectrum 7, acquired Mr. Bush's struggling West Texas oil operation.

The second-ranking Pioneer, Ronald Weiser, a Michigan businessman, raised $588,309, according to the documents. Mr. Weiser serves as ambassador to the Slovak Republic.

The third-ranking Pioneer was the team of Howard Leach and Kristen Hueter of California, who raised $429,610, according to the documents. Mr. Leach is now ambassador to France.

Donors wanting something more permanent and rewarding than a mere cushy job in a scenic location also got what they wanted -- Charles Cawley, for instance, the chairman of a major credit card issuer, got much tougher personal bankruptcy legislation for his roughly $370,000.

To preempt Jim Henley, this separates the Republicans from such Democrats as the notorious Sen. Hollings (D-Disney) by... well, just about nothing. I once heard one politician -- it may have been Sen. Kerry -- try to defend this by arguing that as long as both sides of an issue send in cash, they both get a hearing. Which means that poorly funded constituencies get no hearing at all, no matter what the quality of their case.

Meanwhile, the provisions of the McCain-Feingold reform law which restrain third-party advertising are getting eaten away -- but the doubling of the individual donation limit remains in full force.


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