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Sen. John McCain has recently stated that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who was bankrolling Gingrich’s super PAC during the primary, is contributing foreign money to Romney’s super PAC, because some of his money is earned overseas:

McCain said Adelson earns his money through a global casino empire, and “much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from this casino in Macau. “Obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign,” McCain said.

My question for Sen. McCain is what is the difference between Adelson and an American expat working overseas who earns his/her money from a foreign corporation? In his 2008 Presidential bid, McCain raised money from Americans overseas (Sources: ABC, Real Clear Politics); did those donations represent foreign money coming into an American campaign? If not, why not?

McCain made his comments on PBS’ Newshour; you can read them here.

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An interesting complaint from the man whose campaign finance reform legislation lead to the growth and proliferation of 527’s (including corporate and union donations), not to mention all the other soft money loopholes in his masterpiece of legislation.

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Very interesting read from Walter Russell Mead on the relative strength of political parties in the United States, particularly how U.S. political parties have declined in strength and have little influence over candidates (i.e., political parties groom less and elections are pretty open). One aspect of the weakness of parties is the current primary structure. With delegates being chosen by voters, the parties and the national conventions are less meaningful. Whereas in the past, a candidate would have to cultivate relationships with the party bigwigs (think smoke filled room and back room deals), the candidate can appeal directly to the voters. Another aspect of party weakness are our campaign finance reforms. As contribution limits to parties have become more stringent, the money that traditionally went to the national party hasn’t left the political system, but has moved to outside groups, such as Super-PACs. As the parties have lost control of the distribution of funds, they have lost control of which candidates can receive those funds and how they use it. Together these reforms have left political parties with less control over who will get the nomination and added populist movements, and we end up with some candidates who would not have previously been nominated (e.g., Mead brings up Christine O’Donnell).