Campaign 2010

Apr 07, 2004

Props (Part II)

Jesse Berney downstairs in the DNC had a brutal entry two days ago on the Republican tradition of using minorities as props, centered around this quote from the Washington Post:

There are those who suggest the Republicans are cynical in their efforts to broaden the base to minorities. “It’s really all about white swing voters, and that’s what is so offensive to me,” says Faye Anderson, a former vice chair of the RNC’s minority outreach committee. “Republicans have a race problem. The white swing voters will not support a party that appears harsh, so they use black and brown faces to appeal to white voters, not to take care of those [minority] voters.”

Well today the Post makes it official:

When Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.) took charge of an independent political fund called American Dream PAC in 1999, he made clear that its mission was “to give significant, direct financial assistance to first-rate minority GOP candidates.”

Since then, only $48,750—or 8.9 percent—of the $547,000 the southwest Texas congressman has raised for his political action committee has gone to minority office-seekers while more than $100,000 has been routed to Republican Party organizations or causes, including a GOP redistricting effort in Texas, a legal defense fund for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Bonilla’s reelection campaign. Most of the remainder of the money went to legal fees, fundraisers in Miami and other cities, airline tickets, hotels, catering services, consultants and salaries.

It’s a good story, worth reading all the way through (see the comparison with the Democratic BOLD PAC), and yes, there are questions of whether they misled donors.  But the bigger picture is that even this PAC, designed exclusively to support minority candidates, was used to essentially disenfranchise millions of minority citizens in Texas, and to pay Tom DeLay’s legal bills while he was doing it.

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