Thursday, February 21, 2013

Advance Financial's campaign contributions evade tracking

After I posted on a Facebook discussion of Germantown's new predatory lender, Advance Financial, I received the following observations from Mike Peden (who single-handedly tracks campaign finance) on the lender's influence:

Advance Financial is making political contributions two ways.

They are making donations as "Advance Financial" and as "Advance PAC" [political action committee].

"Advance Financial" can make unlimited contributions to PAC's without filing a disclosure, which is the case with the $10,000 contribution to Tennessee First.  But they cannot make a contribution directly to a candidate without filing a disclosure.

"Advance PAC" can make contributions to other PAC's and candidates, but must file a disclosure.

So, you cannot tell how much Advance Financial has given just by looking at the Advance PAC disclosure.

It is very confusing.

I am convinced that the purpose of the loopholes and misdirection of campaign finance is intended to be confusing so that influence and power are hidden from communities who would stage popular revolts if they could see through the ruse.

Mike's comments further sustain my point that letting businesses off the hook with arguments like Ron Wynn's (that they are just trying to make a buck) is irresponsible and naive. They system of planning and zoning is gamed, juiced and lubed by business money, and the entrepreneurs and executives, as well as the politicians they woo, should be held personally responsible for the maze and the mess.

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