MSNBC's Chris Jansing thinks that Republicans outraising Democrats in the 2010 midterms is a problem that government needs to fix.
On the December 13 "Jansing & Co.," the daytime anchor fretted, "Do you think it's getting out of hand?" She sardonically added, "Is the sky the limit here?"
Jim Gilmore, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, fired back in support of participatory democracy: "I've always believed that you ought to be able to participate financially in a political campaign without all these limits. The limits are making it very difficult to level the playing field."
The former Virginia governor added that he supports disclosure requirements, but not limits on spending.
Jansing, determined to lambast the Republican fundraising machine, exploited Gilmore's nuanced position to reiterate her argument: "So the Republican groups like the ones who were founded by Karl Rove, those folks should have disclosed where that money was coming from?"
In response, Gilmore repeated his opposition to spending limits while reinforcing his support for "maximum disclosure of donors."
Unable to pin Gilmore, Jansing shifted her focus to praise a Democratic fundraising group that claims it will unveil all its donors, even though the law does not require full disclosure: "Is that what we're going to see on the Democratic side? Are they going to reveal all their donors and where's this disclosure thing going?"
Politico's Patrick Gavin did not take the bait, retorting, "No I doubt it, unless this law changes."
Failing again to extract a suitable response from her guest, Jansing gave up on the Socratic method and self-righteously opined on the issue: "It is, I think, Galina, a lot of these groups are hiding behind the fact that it's legal. There's legal and there's right. There's legal and there's ethical."
Galina Espinoza, co-president of Latina Media Ventures, gushed over Jansing's biting criticism of Republicans: "It would be nice to think that politicians would do the right thing, not the legal thing...and the ones who suffer are the American people."
Given Jansing's position that Democratic fundraisers are fighting to do what's right against Republican fundraisers that are trying to exploit the law, it is difficult to interpret the MSNBC anchor's remarks as anything other than partisan shilling.
A transcript of the segment can be found below:
Jansing & Co.
December 13, 2010
11:08 A.M. EST
CHRIS JANSING, anchor: Well let's bring back in Patrick Gavin, Galina Espinoza, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore. Jim, I don't know, governor, if you remember what the most is you ever spent on a campaign but do you think it's getting out of hand? Is the sky the limit here?
JIM GILMORE, former Virginia governor (R): You know, I've always believed that you ought to be able to participate financially in a political campaign without all these limits. The limits are making it very difficult to level the playing field. The new guy on the block doesn't have all those people who want to give him money and he's got to try to find some way to get that money. But to me disclosure is the key. It's less the money. I'm always a believer that you take what you can get but you disclose it and then everyone can see exactly who's giving you money.
JANSING: So the Republican groups like the ones who were founded by Karl Rove, those folks should have disclosed where that money was coming from?
GILMORE: No, there should be a law that says that we should have maximum disclosure of donors so the press and other people and citizens can see who exactly is financing campaigns. But don't forget the real heart of the problem here. The heart of the problem is it's so darn expensive to run for office – no TV stations are giving away those ads so you've got to pay for it and people are going to continue to find ways to try to get on camera to get their message out. That's really a part of the discourse in American political society.
JANSING: Well one of the other things that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said, Patrick, was that her group was going to disclose who their donors are, but is that what we're going to see on the Democratic side? Are they going to reveal all their donors and where's this disclosure thing going?
PATRICK GAVIN, Politico: No I doubt it, unless this law changes. I think what you're seeing is sort of "if we can't beat them, join them" type of mentality. You know, until this law is off the books I think both groups are going to try to exploit it. What you saw with Democrats is, I think Democrats were a little blind sided this past election by that law and by the kind of fundraising it allowed Republicans to do. They don't want that to happen again in 2012. You know, I think what's interesting is a lot of people who have been in DC for a long time are saying that part of the reason DC's become so partisan is because people don't hang out anymore. Politicians used to go get a glass of wine and a bite to eat after work.
JANSING: Well, you make a good point. It is, I think, Galina, a lot of these groups are hiding behind the fact that it's legal. There's legal and there's right. There's legal and there's ethical. Unless the law changes, as Governor Gilmore suggests, I don't see what's happening changing. I don't see all of a sudden that campaigns are going to get less expensive or that we're going to know where more of this money is coming from.
GALINA ESPINOZA, Latina magazine: It would be nice to think that politicians would do the right thing, not the legal thing, but I think we've learned time and time again, to the governor's point, that unless there's a law forcing them to do it, there going to do as much as they can get away with and the ones who suffer are the American people.