In the case of de'Pascal, City Attorney Bob White said her campaign money won't be tied up by the bankruptcy. He said the money was distributed to a campaign account, and her personal bankruptcy should be irrelevant.The fact is it doesn't matter whether the money starts out being co-mingled with Ms. de'Pascal's personal finances when she controls the distribution of funds. Take a look at the list of allowable campaign expenditures created by AOEE:
Pay particular attention to items 1, 7, 8, and 9; salaries, staff, purchase of computers and communications equipment, and even headquarters - all are allowed. We don't know about you, but we can think of at least a half dozen ways to spend the money (generously provided by taxpayers) that are allowable but could have nothing to do with getting elected.
1. Salary or other payment to those providing bona fide services, including
but not limited to consulting, polling, communication and advertising services to
the campaign, provided that such person is compensated at a fair market value.
2. Admissions to sporting events, concerts, theater or other forms of
entertainment for the purpose of conducting campaign activity.
3. Dues, fees, parking or gratuities at a country club, health club or other
recreational facilities where such costs are a part of a specific fundraising event.
4. Purchases of food, beverages and/or supplies used exclusively for a
campaign fund raising event, but not including alcoholic beverage.
5. Minor Cost Items Purchase of clothing or other items of de minimus
value used in the campaign. Clothing shall be a valid campaign expense only
when it has a campaign message as part of the clothing or is used as a uniform
for campaign staff and/or volunteers.
6. Campaign Materials. [See definition in Part A].
7. Compensation to Campaign Staff.
8. Communication Systems Purchase or lease of computers,
telephone systems and other related communication devices used in campaign
activities. [Section 8 (D) (1) – (6)].
9. Campaign headquarters and offices and expenditures related to such
headquarters and offices such as, security deposits, utilities, television reception,
and janitorial services.
You may remember the stories about how some "victims" of hurricane Katrina decided to use their government issued $2,000 debit cards. Tattoos, Strippers and Louis Vuitton handbags were among the items purchased using our money (WorldNetDaily). There were criminal investigations into the abuses (ABQ Journal - Subscription) that totaled as much as $1.4 BILLION or 16% of the total amount of aid distributed to victims.
The accusations against Ms. de'Pascal include embezzlement; specifically using company money to purchase personal items and jewelry. We don't know for whether she has committed the acts that she is accused of or not. After all, divorces can be a terribly messy business where accusations of improper conduct abound.
The truth is when you give someone money, they don't always spend it in way that you would or even in a ways that you would approve of. It is impossible to govern the funds in order to make sure that they are not used in a way that was not intended. On the other hand, privately funded campaigns are self-governing.
If a candidate uses money for things like say... $400 haircuts, there's a price to pay politically AND a candidate's fundraising will certainly suffer. Certainly there's pressure to make donors happy, but that pressure is balanced by the voters who may object to the association.
Publicly financed candidates can and will find a way to "legally" spend money in ways never intended. Taxpayers will simply continue to pour money into these campaigns as long as their opponents able to raise money in more conventional ways.
The Journal made Ms. de'Pascal look like a victim by noting that "she was granted a domestic protection order" against her estranged husband. Our Eyes tell us that the judge also entered a protection order against her. It's the judicial equivalent of "just stay the heck away from each other."
We don't know who's at fault in the Ziemann - de'Pascal divorce. Frankly we don't care. The situation simply illustrates the dangers associated with this risky public financing scheme. You can be sure that eventually a candidate will abuse the public trust, will squander our money, and it will all take place before we even have a chance to vote for them.