Rich retiring politiciansBy WYATT EMMERICH,
There will be an unusual push by Mississippi politicians to raise campaign money in the final weeks of December. That’s because a new state law kicks in requiring any campaign money raised after Dec. 31 be used only for political campaign purposes.
The fact that politicians could cash in their campaign war chests was an abomination. In most states, you can go to jail for that. But up until now, Mississippi law allowed politicians to personally pocket campaign when they left office. This made the practice of buying votes quite easy in the Magnolia state.
We commend the state legislature for ending this charade, but this new last-minute urgency to raise money before the end-of-year deadline focuses attention on the fact that this new law is not retroactive. All the millions of existing dollars in campaign kittys will still be able to go personally to retiring politicians. Several of our prominent statewide office holders have amassed millions in campaign surpluses, guaranteeing a flush retirement when they quit. It’s not right, but there was not a snowball’s chance in hell of changing the law if it actually meant politicians would have to give their campaign money back to their donors.