October 24, 2007

Since when do kids have checking accounts?

Oh, this is a little insane... apparently, the children of wealthy donors are becoming big contributors to campaigns in what appears to be an effort to skirt campaign finance laws.

Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.

Such campaign donations from young children would almost certainly run afoul of campaign finance regulations, several campaign lawyers said. But as bundlers seek to raise higher and higher sums for presidential contenders this year, the number who are turning to checks from underage givers appears to be on the rise.

"It's not difficult for a banker or a trial lawyer or a hedge fund manager to come up with $2,300, and they're often left wanting to do more," said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. "That's when they look across the dinner table at their children and see an opportunity."

And don't worry, Republicans... you people are doing it as well...

A supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), Susan Henken of Dover, Mass., wrote her own $2,300 check, and her 13-year-old son, Samuel, and 15-year-old daughter, Julia, each wrote $2,300 checks, for example. Samuel used money from his bar mitzvah and money he earned "dog sitting," and Julia used babysitting money to make the contributions, their mother said. "My children like to donate to a lot of causes. That's just how it is in my house," Henken said.

My checking account, which I opened at 12 with my Dad, never had more than $500 in it. What the hell kind of dog is little Samuel 'sitting' for? And they consider Romney a 'cause'? Bet these two are a barrel of laughs with their peers.

As always, the WaPo finds a MOTO to really hammer the point home. For those whose brains don't work...

"What's driving it is a desire by maxed-out donors to max out on their maxing out," said Fred Wertheimer, president of campaign finance reform organization Democracy 21, who sought, unsuccessfully, to outlaw child donations five years ago. "More often than not, you're dealing with people who are simply trying to circumvent the limits of what they can give."

No... really?

Posted by mcblogger at October 24, 2007 01:34 PM

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