Political Editors / November 3, 2016

Spotlight: The Model for Illegal Demo Cash

Violating campaign finance is fine when they do it.

Thornton Law Firm in Boston really likes to support Democrats. Indeed, the prominent firm gave loads of cash to various Democrats — Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Sen. Edward Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton among them — but it was above and beyond what campaign finance allowed. According to the Boston Globe, “Three partners at the firm — Michael Thornton, Garrett Bradley, and David Strouss — contributed more than $1.6 million over five years, mostly to Democratic candidates and the party. The partners received bonuses totaling about $1.4 million, often in the exact amount of the donation and on the same day.” Campaign finance laws prohibit “straw donors” — those who make political contributions in another person’s name — and this is one of the largest such schemes ever uncovered. The firm insists the lawyers received bonuses from their equity in the firm, which is legal, but the Center for Responsive Politics doesn’t buy the explanation and has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.

Immediately after the Globe’s Spotlight team broke the story, the politicians began lining up to return the donations. But only because they were caught.

Clinton and Warren are particularly hypocritical. Both rail against campaign financing with “dark” money and consistently oppose (in public) the peddling of influence. Clinton even promises to appoint Supreme Court justices based on her interpretation of campaign finance law. And yet the Clinton Foundation exists for two purposes: To help the Clintons avoid taxes, and to trade their political influence for money. Its pay-to-play schemes are legendary, and the Foundation is also the subject of a year-long but newly “high priority” FBI investigation. Warren is viewed by “progressives” as a paragon of virtue for her opposition to powerful players on Wall Street. But she not only accepted the shady cash; she even refused to return it until the investigation concluded. Sunlight being the best disinfectant, she has since changed her mind.

The Globe sums it up best: “People have gone to jail for reimbursing political donations.” And somehow, Democrats always seem to be down in the muck. This particular story is just a model for how they do it across the nation.


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