Preznitial Flip-Flop on Shadowy Groups

From Holden:

Those shadowy 527 groups are a cancer on the face of our democracy according to your preznit (BTW, how shadowy can groups named after a section of the federal tax code be?).

Here is what he said about them yesterday:

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. I don’t think we ought to have 527s. I can’t be more plain about it. And I wish — I hope my opponent joins me in saying, condemning these activities of the 527s. It’s the — I think they’re bad for the system. That’s why I signed the bill, McCain-Feingold. I’ve been disappointed that for the first six months of this year, 527s were just pouring tons of money, billionaires writing checks. And I spoke out against them early. I tried to get others to speak out against them, as well. And I just don’t — I think they’re bad for the system.

So, poor George says he meant to get rid of those 527’s way back in March 2002 when he signed McCain-Feingold, right? Well, here’s what he said about them when he reluctantly signed the bill:

However, the bill does have flaws. Certain provisions present serious constitutional concerns. In particular, H.R. 2356 goes farther than I originally proposed by preventing all individuals, not just unions and corporations, from making donations to political parties in connection with Federal elections.

I believe individual freedom to participate in elections should be expanded, not diminished; and when individual freedoms are restricted, questions arise under the First Amendment.

I also have reservations about the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising, which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election. I expect that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law.

Sounds like what he said then directly contradicts what he is saying now. Yesterday Russ Feingold called him on it:

The President’s remarks concerning his signing of the McCain-Feingold bill lack candor at best.

The McCain-Feingold bill dealt only with political party soft money and phony issue ads run within 60 days of the general election, not with the so-called 527 groups. The President knew that. In fact, in his signing statement in March of 2002, the President even objected to the fact that our bill prohibited individuals as well as corporations and unions from contributing soft money to the political parties. The 527 issue has nothing to do with the McCain-Feingold bill; it is caused by the failure of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the law that has been in effect since 1974.

Yo, John McCain – we’re waiting to hear from you on this issue. Have you completely sold every last ounce of your soul to Bush/Cheney ’04?

(Some links culled from Froomkin.)