April 23, 2006
"Where Are They Now?" Department: Republicans for Clean Air
The poster child for the need for BCRA's bright line "electioneering communications" provision as applied to disclosure was "Republicans for Clean Air," a mysterious group that ran ads attacking John McCain when he ran in the NY primary against George Bush for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. (The incident is mentioned by the Supreme Court in its McConnell decision, upholding BCRA). Because the ad didn't contain express advocacy (such as "Oppose McCain!"), it was exempt from federal election disclosure requirements.
It turns out that the ads were funded by the Wyly brothers, two Texas oilmen with close ties to George Bush. If I recall correctly, some enterprising reporter figured that out. In any case, Chris Cillizza reports:
Posted by Rick Hasen at April 23, 2006 07:24 PM