What’s Up With That?

The funny thing with politics is, if enough people are wondering if a story is true, it doesn’t matter if it actually is true.  The fact that people are talking about it is a story all its own.

A few days ago I recieved an e-mail from a reader up in Phoenix who was asking me about the sponsors of HB 2159.  The bill raises the limit that a legislative candidate can collect from PACs.  Well, not just raises, but more than quadruples the limit from $7,560 to $32,843.

The correspondent wasn’t just concerned about the rhinocerous sized hole it blows in our current campaign finance laws, but he noted that it was introduced by a Democrat, Ben Miranda, and had as co-sponsors Manny Alvarez, Pete Rios and Albert Tom, all Democrats. The writer noted that three of these folks were part of the anti-Phil Lopes Heptarchy that had threatened to break the caucus two weeks ago. The writer asked, is this payback against Lopes?

It would be idle speculation, but it is a question being asked by several capitol watchers (from my few glances at the Yellow Sheet, I have found that I should call them “railbirds”). When the crack-up first happened there were some worries that some of the “rebel” members would take actions against Lopes’s bills, or that they would support Republican bills. Aside from some head scratching committee votes here and there, there really hasn’t been any evidence of substantive defections yet.

I don’t buy that this is an effort to break the caucus. If so, this would be a strange way to take action against Lopes. They aren’t dissing him by supporting a Republican bill because this bill has no Republican sponsors. Although I doubt that Lopes supports this bill, the way to really get his goat on campaign finance would be to mess with Clean Elections (don’t worry, the Republicans are doing that).  If this is really a way for dissident Democrats to “Get Phil,” it seems a roundabout way to go about it.

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