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October 27, 2006

Air America: a campaign finance workaround?

Now comes this John Lott/Bradley Smith column entitled "Special treatment for Air America". It makes a rather curious claim that all AARologists should immediately spot:
When is a campaign donation not a campaign donation? Apparently if you spend the money to run a radio program instead of paying for campaign ads that run on that same program. Just look at Air America. With $41 million in losses since 2004, and $9.8 million owed just to Robert Glaser, RealNetworks chairman, Democrats who bankrolled this "company" weren't so much investors as campaign contributors. The losses are seen as simple business ineptitude,but Air America effectively, and perhaps intentionally, cleverly avoided the campaign finance limits which Democrats had worked so hard to pass.

With McCain-Feingold's "hard money" donation limits of $2,000 per candidate and "soft money" limits to party campaign committees of $57,500, there is no way that Mr. Glaser or other wealthy Democratic donors could have legally given such large sums directly to Democrats. But Air America provided a vehicle for their multimillion-dollar political campaigns...
Of course, AAR is completely innocent of all charges: this is clearly not such a "vehicle" because many of AAR's listeners were not people but cows in fields in Crystal Lake IL or Karnes City TX. And, even they weren't able to listen at night.

Given all of the money they invested in AAR, Rob Glaser et al could have started a foundation to find workarounds for campaign finance reform, bought hundreds of TV ads, rented the Goodyear blimp to fly over the Superbowl (twice), and still have enough left over to send Al Franken a nice gift from Shinder's.

Posted in Meta at October 27, 2006 04:57 PM


Monitoring Air America Radio [TM] so you don't have to.


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