by Max Brantley
The Washington Post today delves into an Arkansas-relevant topic: the intricacies of campaign finance law as it pertains to presidential exploratory committees. No, the article is not about Mike Huckabee, who's clearly testing presidential waters, but using a Virginia-registered leadership PAC unburdened by fund-raising restrictions imposed on exploratory committees.
Huckabee's own fund-raising letter says he wants to use the money "to continue traveling to places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to see if my visioin for our Nation resonates with our fellow Americans for 2008."
The Post is focusing on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, naturally, for so far not creating an exploratory committee, though she has a leadership PAC.
Referencing Hillary, the Post quoted former Federal Election Commission Chairman Scott Thomas: "If her leadership PAC is paying for her to fly around and speak in public settings, and it looks like that activity is toward a campaign effort, that would trigger a requirement that she file."
Couldn't you insert the name Huckabee in that sentence just as readily?
The article goes on to say the exploratory committee issue is murky. Huckabee has made a careeer of wallowing in the murk of finance and ethics rules.