GEOFF PENDER: Campaign finance laws don’t give taxpayers fair shot
Campaign donations from someone profiting from government are shielded from bribery — and even tax — provisions based on two basic assumptions: One, they are for running a campaign, not a politician’s personal use. Two, records of them are (ostensibly) open to public scrutiny.
But neither is really the case in Mississippi.
First, it is widely held among politicians that spending campaign donations on personal things in Mississippi is “legal.” This is based primarily on a 1978 state attorney general’s opinion.
But nowhere in that opinion does it state that such spending of campaign funds is legal. It does substantiate the fact that there is no specific law prohibiting it. But it also appears to give warnings about doing so.