October 3, 2007

Raising campaign cash in Europe?

I had a nice chat with an older woman and her son (who appeared to be about my age) today at Borders in Reno. I kept overhearing him mentioning that Hillary had been in England raising money and he indicated that she was raising foreign money. It piqued my interest and I asked him about it. He said he had heard it on the BBC that Hillary had been in England with, as he put it, "her tin cup out" raising campaign cash. I asked him how that was possible since FEC rules require that cash donated to federal campaigns be from US citizens or resident aliens (green card holders). He insisted that she was working some angle and that the Brits were fully expecting all the other American candidates to do the same.

Well...not so fast. It turns out that the Clinton campaign is planning a fundraising trip to Ireland. But it is to raise money amongst expats there. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, "expat" is short for expatriot, in this case meaning an American living abroad (outside the borders of the United States). See Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad.

From the BBC article:

He first came to help bring peace to Northern Ireland, but the next time Bill Clinton visits Ireland will be to help raise the estimated £249m his wife needs for her presidential campaign.

. . .

The Clinton campaign aims to hold a fundraiser targeting Democrat supporters living in Ireland.

Irish-born publisher Niall O'Dowd, who is on the finance committee of the Clinton campaign team, believes Hillary has a lot of support among ex-pats in Ireland.

"I know there is a plan by the Clinton campaign to hold a fundraiser in Ireland for American citizens and green card holders," he said.
So there you go. No, Hillary hasn't been to England. They DO plan a fundraiser in Ireland. But it will be Bill going. And it will be perfectly legal money they will be raising.

Man, people have just got to stop, think and examine before they go and believe the worst.

Gotta say though, once we got past this part of the conversation we had quite a nice time discussing the US political scene, campaign finance reform, the lack of civic knowledge amongst the general population, the decline of civil liberties, the trials and tribulations of trying to get a green card for a spouse, etc. Me the Dem, he the Libertarian, and she the Republican. And you know what? We tended to see eye to eye on many of the topics we touched upon. Pretty grand what can happen when we all treat each other with respect.

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