The Journal Company posse -- McBride, McIlheran, Sykes -- have been winging on and on about how the Democrats are playing politics with the Mark Foley scandal. Lamenting how the Democrats are calling on John Gard to distance himself from the House leadership -- such as by returning their money -- to prove his independence from them.
Rick Esenberg weighs in from his Olympian heights, bemoaning that no adults have stepped in to stop this crazy talk:
Nor does the receipt of that money obligate the recipients to vote for the present GOP leadership. A campaign contribution is, at most, an endorsement of the donee by the donor. People who get contributions are not obligated to stand by those who make them and, in this case, if the GOP leadership needs to go, there will be new leadership candidates whose campaign money will spend just as well.
This would be news to Boehner, Hastert and any politician with a leadership PAC. A great deal of Tom Delay's power stemmed from his ability to pour money into the campaigns of hopefuls who owed their careers to him -- as he no doubt reminded them. And that money bought such loyalty that the Republicans made a mockery of the House's ethics rules when Tom's corruption caught up with him at long last.
The Center for Responsive Politics says:
Some members of Congress admit that leadership PACs are an attempt to buy leadership spots.61 A report by Clyde Wilcox, a government professor at Georgetown University, notes that a "PAC director for one influential member of the House put it this way: `The congressman formed the PAC because he wanted to be a major player in the House. There is no question that he gets more respect because of it.' "62 Legislative attempts to prohibit leadership PACs have been killed.
So again, if John Gard is elected would he back Denny Hastert, who knew about the emails but did not investigate, for a leadership position? Would he back John Boehner, who also sinned by omission? Will he prove his independence by giving back the money?
This 27 large we're givin' ya? It's at most whatcha call an endorsement of you, the donee, by us the donors. We give you this, you're not obligated to stand by us when the heat comes down. Honest!