President-elect Barack Obama wants still more money.
This time, it is to finance his transition to the White House. To collect, he has set up a non-profit corporation, the Obama-Biden Transition Project. It is true that transition teams have solicited funds before, but I suspect it has never been done in such a systematic, purposeful manner.
The main thing is this: if this so-called non-profit intends to use the shady shakedown methodologies for which the Obama campaign will live in infamy, we have a major problem. Now, I will be the first to point out that accountability that comes with public money is quite limited – any clever politician can tap-dance around it – but it is a damn sight better than NO accountability that comes with private donations from unknown sources in unknown locations. It strikes me that the President-elect is thumbing his nose at us.
Let us set some definitive rules for this kind of solicitation:
- no Internet donations at all,
- no single-use credit cards or any other instruments that cannot be fully traced,
- all donations must be completely transparent and traceable – name, U.S. address, proof of U.S. citizenship or residency,
- all donations must be made public within 6 hours on an Internet web site set up for this specific purpose, or they must be returned,
- a citizens’ panel shall be appointed to monitor this process at the non-profit’s expense – and no, the non-profit shall not have any power to appoint anyone to it or to block anyone’s appointment,
- if this panel encounters any obfuscation by the non-profit on any single donation, the non-profit shall immediately surrender $500,000 of monies collected, to be used for, say, rehabilitating people falsely accused of racism, and for exposing their accusers.
Mr. Obama, it is time to start showing a commitment to democracy that goes beyond mere appearances. Like it or not, you are, in fact, responsible to us. The brouhaha over your Obamajugend plans – and the hasty changes that your troopers have already made to it on your Change website to contain the furor – should give you an indication that you have to be at least as moral and upright as us flyoverites.