HIGHTOWER: Cruise-Industry Freeloaders

You don't meet a lot of Fat Cats like Skye Stolnitz of Los Angeles, a contributor to the presidential campaign of Republican Lamar Alexander. Or Asher Simon, who pumped big money into Sen. Diane Feinstein's re-election campaign. Lindsey Tobak topped all of these, donating $20,000 in "soft money" to the Democratic Party.These political donors would not be unusual in today's Big Money politics, except that Skye, Asher, and Lindsey could not even vote when they became campaign contributors. They were too young. Skye was 10, Asher 9, and Lindsey 15. They are the poster children of an especially cynical loophole in America's loophole-riddled campaign finance law.Their parents used them to skirt around the legal limit of $1,000 that any individual can give to a particular candidate. Make that a $2,000 limit, since an individual's spouse can also "voluntarily" give a thousand. But the law imposes no age limits on contributors, so parents have begun to tap their children.The Los Angeles Times reports that Skye Stolnitz's dad, Scott, wrote a $1,000 check to Lamar Alexander in 1996. Her mom did, too. And, on the same day, Skye became a $1,000 donor. It was in her own interest, asserts daddy Scott: "I felt that Lamar Alexander had the solutions for education in America, which I was very concerned about on behalf of my daughter." He said the money came from Skye's very own checking account, and that when he told her what he was doing, "she did not object."Since 1991, children like Skye have "not objected" to their parents raiding their piggy banks to the tune of $7.5 million in contributions. So far, the champion among these Babes in Political Land is Bradford Bainum -- he gave $2,000 to candidates . . . before he was two years old.This is Jim Hightower saying . . . To stop this insanity, call Public Campaign: 202-293-0222.

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