October 6, 2002
THE ABSURDITY OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW:Swett's campaign would make Tony Soprano proud (Bernadette Malone, 10/06/02, Union Leader)
Much like fictional mobster Tony Soprano in Jersey City, Tom Lantos commands his own "crew" in Washington. Lantos is the top-ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee. "Ranking members" such as Lantos control a lot in Washington, and they command a lot of respect. But they don't get nearly as much respect or power as chairmen - the highest ranking members of the majority party on each committee. [...]
So Lantos has come up with a scheme that will get his daughter Katrina a swell job and increase his chances of becoming a chairman. Just as Tony bought his daughter Meadow a place of honor at Columbia University, Lantos is trying to buy his daughter a New Hampshire congressional seat.
Federal law limits the amount of money any individual can donate to her race. So members of Lantos' crew are giving Katrina donations for her race against Republican Rep. Charlie Bass--after he lines their pockets with his own cash.
"I probably wouldn't have helped her out if it wouldn't have been for her dad," Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat who represents Hollywood and serves under Lantos on the International Relations Committee, told the Washington newspaper Roll Call on Sept. 30. "But Tom wants everybody to help her out."
Lantos gave Sherman $1,000 on June 26, and Sherman gave Katrina Swett $2,000 the same day.
Roll Call also reports that Lantos gave committee member Eliot Engel of the Bronx $2,000 on March 18. Three weeks later, Engel gave Katrina Swett $2,000.
Lantos gave committee member Rep. Shelley Berkley of Las Vegas $2,000 on April 17. On May 30, she turned around and gave Katrina Swett $2,000. Also on April 17, Lantos gave committee member Rep. Earl Blumenauer's Committee for Livable Future PAC $5,000. The PAC gave Katrina Swett $5,000 on May 21.
Understand what's going on here? Or as Tony Soprano would ask, "Capisce?"
Do we really end up with a better system when a fundamentally decent guy like Tom Lantos has to stoop to such shenanigans to help his daughter? Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2002 1:06 PM