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Campaigns: Embezzlers Welcome

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Campaigns: Embezzlers Welcome

The most telling thing about the FBI's arrest of a longtime campaign treasurer on suspicion of fraud is that none of the politicians who appear to be the fraud's victims are expressing shock, at least publicly.

One reason for the lack of shocking: anyone who knows anything about campaigns knows that they are relatively easy to rob.

The treasurer, Kinde Durkee, who has done the books for all kinds of campaigns for Democrats and Democratic interests for nearly 40 years, is expected in court as early as Tuesday.

She is innocent until proven guilty, so let's consider this discussion non-specific, if topical and pointed.

That point is: if campaigns were businesses, they would be the type of businesses that would be easy to rob.

Think about it.

Campaigns are short-term businesses -- they set up for several months, then they often shut down once a race is over.

The people responsible for them -- the candidates -- don't have the time to supervise the spending of every penny; the candidates are too busy campaigning.

Cash comes in and goes out fairly rapidly during campaigns. And campaigns don't have shareholders expecting profits to provide pressure for accurate accounting.

To the contrary, campaigns are generally expected not to make money -- they are expected to win. In fact, it's common for campaigns to lose money. If the person holding the money takes a little extra, who is going to notice?

What to do?

Well, one wonders if public financing of campaigns -- an idea advanced by people who want to prevent politicians from being corrupted by donations -- might also provide an incentive against corruption inside campaigns.

After all, wouldn't campaign staffers, as well as regulators, be more careful with taxpayer money than donor money?

You'd like to think so, wouldn't you?

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