When I read the huge amounts spent on elections, I only shudder.

From USA TODAY:

Democrat Barack Obama, who is on track to spend a record $230 million on television advertising, will punctuate his broadcast strategy Wednesday with prime-time commercials on CBS, NBC and Fox….

Obama’s ad spending will easily surpass the record $188 million President Bush spent in 2004, according to Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads. “Obama has rewritten the playbook on running a presidential campaign,” he said. “There’s nothing he can’t afford to do.”

Ah, but he intends to be savior of the world, so what’s a quarter million dollars for television ads?

But the real story is hidden, which is why conservatives point to press bias, found mainly in the way stories are framed rather than in the information itself.

Because the real story is in paragraph four:

Republican John McCain, who is limited to spending $84.1 million because he accepted taxpayer funds for the general election,

Senator Obama had promised to limit his campaign funding and accept the limits on spending while accepting government funding.

But Senator Obama changed his mind. Are you aware of this?

Of course, libertarians see the irony of the McCain campaign being destroyed thanks to his own legislationthat tried to clean up politics. (i.e. the McCain Feingold Act).

Of course, there are charges on left and right about funny money and illegal donors. When huge amounts of money are involved, there will be people going around the law.

But the huge amounts raised by Senator Obama overseas and the failure of his website to insist on ordinary name and address checks for credit card contributions suggest that his campaign might be pushing the limits for contribution over the line.

Will we read about it? Probably not, unless you read political blogs. Obama’s refusal to stay within the limits of the 2002 bill to limit campaign spending has not been well publicized, so why expect anyone to worry if his fund raising page accepts donors without checking their true name and addresses?

The NYTimesblog writes:

But a New York Times analysis of campaign finance records looking for obvious anomalies in donor information quickly found more than a dozen contributors to Mr. Obama using obviously fictitious name. This was a tiny fraction of Mr. Obama’s donor pool, but it appeared from the analysis that Mr. McCain had far fewer apparent fake names among his donors.

These are of course “small” donors: but in these days of computers, multiple “small” contributions from a single donor to hide the amount is not difficult.

So the bad news for those of you in the US is that you will be inundated with Obama ads in the next ten days.

Luckily for those of us in the Philippines, we don’t have this type of shenanigans.

When our politicians steal money to get elected, they steal money in plain sight.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes at Makaipablog

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