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Boys on the Bus #2

Hillary Clinton’s $36 Million Dollar Magic Trick

The staggering amount of money raised so far for Hillary Clinton’s ’08 presidential campaign should be a cause for concern. Her first quarter windfall of $26 million was conveniently leaked to the Drudge Report on April 1st and was intended to convey a stark message to her Democratic rivals. The numbers were officially released later that day and the media frenzy over the primary finances began (John Edwards raised $14 million, while on the Republican side Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani raked in $21 million and $15 million respectively).

Clinton's early receipts eclipsed all previous records for fundraising in a presidential primary and set a new precedent for aspiring presidential candidates. The $26 million, however, did not tell the whole story of Clinton’s elaborate fundraising mechanism – one that flouts campaign finance laws and attempts to bury her competition in a mountain of cash.

Included within the news reports of Clinton’s first quarter numbers was a mention of her transfer of an additional $10 million to the current campaign. This significant wad of cash was left over from her successful re-election to the Senate in 2006. The ’06 race, a landslide for Clinton, didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. (One of her fledgling rivals actually botched the announcement speech.) Clinton was virtually unchallenged but she still managed to rake in record-breaking numbers for this '06 campaign. Clinton obviously didn’t spend all the money; and she left the remaining balance in the bank.

This allowed Clinton to apply that leftover $10 million to her presidential campaign; bringing her to a grand total $36 million. Why is this so insidious? The maneuver let Clinton bypass the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Under the act, an individual is only allowed to donate $2,300 to each candidate per election. By pulling this nifty trick Clinton was able to hit up the same donors twice, doubling their potential contribution to $4,600.

Clinton’s intentions to run for President were pretty much etched in stone ever since left the White House in 2000. So the former First Lady basically used her Senate reelection campaign to bankroll her presidential campaign -- perfectly legal; but a bit shady if you ask me. And now the rest of the Democratic field has a $36 million dollar mountain to climb in order to compete with Clinton’s formidable candidacy.

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