HIGHTOWER: Lamar's Money-Laundering Loophole

Sadly, there's no traffic jam on the High Road of Politics these days. Politicians of both parties are all on the low road rushing around in a mad scramble for corrupt corporate cash to finance their campaigns.If you think this money chase is going to ease off anytime soon, take a peek at the brand new fundraising loophole that Republican presidential wannabe Lamar Alexander is trying to squeeze through. Alexander, former governor of Tennessee, made a hugely unsuccessful run for president in 1996. Afterwards, he whined loudly that the federal government's $5,000-per-person limit on contributions to a political action committee should be lifted. He said it cramps his style of getting really big bucks from Fat Cats.He didn't get a lot of sympathy, but, hey, Alexander isn't called "Loophole Lamar" for nothing. The Boston Globe reports that under Tennessee law, a person can give up to $100,000 to a state PAC, and there are very few restrictions on how that money can be used, including transferring it to a federal PAC. So -- abracadabra! -- Alexander has already moved a cool million bucks from his state pocket to his federal pocket, even though most of this money comes from Fat Cats giving way beyond the $5,000 federal limit. For example, the Globe reports that Alexander took an Iowa businessman to breakfast, told him about this loophole, and collected a $95,000 contribution -- 19 times what federal law allows.When the head of Dan Quayle's presidential PAC was told about "Lamar's Loophole," he said: "I didn't know you could do that. I'm flabbergasted." He quickly recovered, though, and now Danbo Quayle has his own state PAC in Virginia -- a state with no limits on contributions.This is Jim Hightower saying ... To learn how to stop this shameless money-laundering, contact Public Campaign: 202-293-0222

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