Where's the Outrage?

Did anyone see this?

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON -- A fight between the White House and Congress has stymied the release of reports detailing millions of dollars in contributions generated by lobbyists for presidential and congressional campaigns, even though public disclosure of those reports is required by law.

Thousands of lobbyist-spending reports filed to Congress Monday were supposed to include, for the first time, the amounts and sources of campaign checks for lawmakers that were "bundled" by those lobbyists. Similar reports for contributions to presidential candidates were due April 15.

The reports could shed new light on lobbyists' bids for influence in a pivotal election year. Many lobbyists bundle, or cobble together, big campaign contributions by asking friends and associates to give to a favored candidate. They typically deliver the funds in a way that identifies themselves as the instigator of the fund-raising effort.

The requirement for disclosing bundled campaign contributions was among the most significant parts of a package of measures passed by the Democrat-led Congress last year in the most sweeping ethics overhaul since Watergate.
Any lobbyist who bundled more than $15,000 for a congressional candidate last quarter would have been required to disclose the information. Presidential candidates would have to report bundled contributions above the same amount on a monthly basis.

But the disclosures have fallen prey to a standoff between Senate Democrats and President Bush over appointees to fill four vacancies on the Federal Election Commission. The commission was supposed to issue a regulation to enforce the bundling provision, but with only two of the commission's six seats occupied, it can't vote on a final rule.

"A big piece of the disclosure puzzle is missing without the enactment of these provisions," said Kenneth Gross, an ethics and lobbying attorney at the Washington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, who testified before Congress on the provision. Mr. Gross said it was "unconscionable" that a fight over appointees would hinder the release of the information.

The situation underscores a larger problem: The FEC, charged with policing the most expensive political campaign season in history, is powerless to do so. "It's really a sad day in the history of our country when the FEC is not viable," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said last week…

…Meanwhile, "There's not only no cop, there's no regulatory body to enforce or to run things -- that's the FEC's job," said Sarah Dufendach, vice president for legislative affairs for government-watchdog group Common Cause, which has been pressing for a resolution of the impasse. "If there's an irregularity, who do the candidates appeal to? They can't decide anything."

The continued delays are a potential embarrassment to Democratic supporters of the ethics overhaul, who beat back opposition to the bundling-disclosure provision from Republicans and several in their own ranks. Months of backroom dealing preserved the provision, which originally would have forced disclosure of bundling campaigns totaling $5,000 or more.

Where is the outrage from the American people? There is none. Why? Because no one is paying attention to this. Don’t expect the corporate media to talk about this either. Why? Because media lobbyists are some of the biggest special interests gravy trains in Washington, and they are not going to do anything to kill their momentum. It’s like throwing a rock in a glass house… I am surprised that even "pro-free enterprise" WSJ would even bother to write an article on this.

Maybe the only good thing to come out of this – at the moment – is that special interest groups were required on Monday to disclose their non-election lobbyist expenditures. But then again…what's the point.

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