It began as a modest idea: a series of small seminars by Democratic Party lawyers for elected officials, political consultants and Congressional aides on the intricacies of the new McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. ...Hoist on their own petard, as it were. This is the fun part:
By the end of last week, that low-key undertaking had drawn more than 400 people over the course of a month, a turnout that has astonished its organizers. ...
"We sometimes leave our audiences in a state of complete shock" at what they hear, said Robert F. Bauer, a lawyer for the Democrats' House and Senate campaign committees. "A sort of slack-jawed amazement at how far this thing reached" is not uncommon at the seminars, Mr. Bauer said. Nor are "a lot of very anxious questions."
Benjamin L. Ginsberg, a Republican Party lawyer who has conducted seminars for the other side of the aisle, said lawmakers were startled to hear that once-standard practices like acting as host at a fund-raiser for a home-state governor might now be illegal. "There's an initial stage where the reaction is, 'This can't be true,' " Mr. Ginsberg said. "And then there's the actual anger stage."
The new chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Robert T. Matsui of California, who voted for McCain-Feingold, says he has been surprised by its fine print.Radley Balko has a nice commentary on the piece:
"I didn't realize what all was in it," Mr. Matsui said.
Now, if Rep. Matsui votes for and vigorously endorses legislation directly affecting him, without reading or really understanding said piece of legislation, imagine how much attention he gives legislation that affects only you, or me -- or minutia-laden OHSA or HIPAA regulations -- before he blindly casts his vote.Yup.