Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Clinton's Bundled Contributors

The Instapundit among many others, has noted that many people are wondering who the Hsu bundled donors to Hillary Clinton were and how much they gave. The Clinton campaign has said that they will refund $850,000 to 260 donors with a connection to Hsu, but have failed to disclose the names of those donors.

Well, here is a couple of things that must be accounted for. First, if we wait until October 15, the date the next campaign finance reports are due, we will find out a couple of things. By law, any disbursement refunding a contribution to a candidate originally in excess of $200 must be itemized on the itemized disbursement schedule of the FEC report. The Commission's reports analyst staff has recently been getting tough on the refund sections of their reports and this will no doubt be enforced quite vigorously. Thus, the Clinton camp can do one of two things: refund the money to Hsu for him to refund to people--a public relations nightmnare of gargantuan proportions and a potential violation of FEC rules, or refund the money to individual contributors, in which case they will have to be itemized on the report.

Second, the Clinton camp would be well advised to publish the names now of those contributors who have given over $200 and will be receiving a refund. If they don't this story will resurface in a month and will probably hang around for a few weeks--a crucial time for the campaigns leading up to the primary madness. If they release the names now, the press will eat them alive for a few weeks as donors are picked apart, then it will likely go away. But if the Clinton campaign waits, the feeding frenzy will be bad, very very bad.

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