Campaign contribution limits too low, spawning ‘bundling’

(Regarding article, “As deadline looms, clean cash is king,” Sept. 25.) Supporters of campaign finance regulation are pointing to Norman Hsu in order to justify further regulating political speech, but creeping campaign finance regulation is the impetus of the so-called “bundling” problem. Indeed, the Norman Hsu maelstrom demonstrates the warped world of campaign finance regulation.

The Campaign Legal Center’s Meredith McGehee alleges that the problems the candidates are facing with shady donors are inherent in the “mad marathon to go and shake the money tree over and over again.” But a better explanation for a candidate’s reliance on campaign bundlers is the fact that the onerous contribution limits have not kept pace with inflation.

If the original 1974 contribution limit of $1,000 were adjusted for inflation, an individual would now be able to give $4,200 per election cycle instead of the current $2,300. Consequently, increasing contribution limits, or eliminating them entirely, would greatly diminish the need for bundlers.

It is also worth noting that the presidential campaigns have responded by strengthening their vetting process without burdensome new campaign finance regulations mandating such actions. Burdensome regulation is the cause, not the cure, to what ills our campaign finance system.

Arlington, Va.

Senate panel should probe attorney nominee
From Eduardo Bhatia, executive director, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration

Before a U.S. attorney nominee for Puerto Rico is confirmed, a thorough investigation of serious politicization should take place. The Sept. 25 letter to The Hill, “Hold on nominee is investigation backlash” by Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth McClintock, should become exhibit one of any U.S. Senate investigation.

In his letter, Mr. McClintock states what would seem to be conclusions already reached internally by a group of federal prosecutors on an alleged federal grand jury investigation of Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo-Vilá. Since these investigations are required to be confidential, it is necessary to question how Mr. McClintock has so many intimate details. Mr. McClintock states that the investigation “has already uncovered wrongdoing.” Has it really? What does Mr. McClintock know that the public doesn’t?

Mr. McClintock — a “Democrat” who supports Republican Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño’s bid for governor — is not the only member of the island’s Statehood Party to appear to be privy to confidential information. His Statehood colleague Mr. Fortuño has also made public comments about the investigation, and their colleague and fellow Statehooder, former Gov. Carlos Romero-Barceló, has also done the same, going so far as to tell the media that the U.S. attorney’s office met with him to tell him not to continue making public statements about the investigation. Is there collusion here? If not, what is the source of Mr. McClintock’s assertions?

In an environment where two top-level assistant U.S. attorneys in the district of Puerto Rico resigned, apparently disgusted with the ongoing political investigations, and where a former assistant U.S. attorney, Mr. Miguel Pereira, stated in a letter to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Senate that he believes that the reason for the nominee’s irregular behavior may include “an outright desire to use the federal government’s power in order to interfere with local political processes,” we simply ask that a thorough investigation of the U.S. attorney nominee take place. The constant leaks and irregularities surrounding the investigation make this demand even more compelling.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was briefed on this information, yet decided to ignore it. Puerto Rico needs and deserves a serious investigation and oversight into the process in which this nominee was selected, into the process in which she has carried out her duties as an interim U.S. attorney, and even into the political ties and connections that seem to dictate her ministerial decisions. Four million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico expect no less from the U.S. Senate.

San Juan, Puerto Rico