Monday, May 19, 2008

AJC columnists slam Barr on PAC practices

[Note: I wrote this post for Third Party Watch earlier this morning. I posted it, and it was almost immediately removed to "draft" status, while I was still working some of the kinks out, and my posting privileges were moderated to keep me from putting it back up. As it happened, TPW had been sold to Bob Barr's campaign finance guru, Richard Viguerie, effective this morning. Whether the transition in general, or the content of the article, were at issue I still don't know - KN@PPSTER]

Darth Barr: I find your lack of faith ... disturbingIn Sunday's edition (or at least the web edition) of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, columnists Cameron McWhirter and Megan Clarke take aim at Libertarian Party presidential nomination candidate Bob Barr -- specifically at the fundraising and spending practices of his PAC, The Bob Barr Leadership Fund. Here's the full article. High points:

The Bob Barr Leadership Fund, [Barr] wrote, has played a "tremendous role" in helping conservative Republicans defeat liberal congressmen. Since 2003, Barr's PAC has raised $4.3 million with similar mailings.

But only a small portion of that money has made its way to Republican campaigns.

In the last five years the fund has given $125,200 -- about three cents of every dollar raised -- to federal candidates and other campaign committees, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found in a review of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Another $81,875 went to state and local campaigns.

McWhirter and Clarke also note that Barr's Libertarian campaign isn't mentioned in the fundraising letter around which the column centers. PAC treasurer Paul Kilgore responds to that concern: The letter was "in production well before the decision to form an exploratory committee was reached."

As for Barr, he seems less than inclined to discuss the PAC's operations:

"I won't be cross-examined" about the fund's finances, he said. ... "Fine, it doesn't operate the way other PACs operate," he said. "Next question."

The Libertarian Party's national convention, where Barr can also expect to face pointed questions about his PAC's activities, opens later this week in Denver.

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