Bopp: If it’s a (c)(4), you’ve got to spend half your money on activity that has nothing to do with the election. If your intent is to affect the election, half of the money is wasted. And not very many people are willing to waste half of their money.
Center for Public Integrity: Looking at the current landscape, some regulators have proposed restricting the political activities of certain nonprofits.
Bopp: If the current [vehicles] are attacked so that [their effectiveness and utility] goes down, then other ones will be used … There are organizations that I have already thought of that haven’t yet been utilized very much.
Center for Public Integrity: Like what?
Bopp: You’ve got to pay me for that. But there are several that I’ve already figured out how to utilize if that becomes necessary.
Center for Public Integrity: Do you think we’ll see LLCs or other corporate forms become more politically active?
Bopp: Only ones with unique profiles that are really, in effect, just a particular person’s vehicle. It’s almost unheard of for any for-profit corporation with customers and employees and investment bankers doing anything like that. As soon as you start involving all them, then the willingness to take political stands goes down dramatically.
Center for Public Integrity: Where do you see regulators or lawmakers going in the right direction right now?
Bopp: Before the last election, there were 13 states that raised or eliminated contribution limits. And that’s continuing because that is the source of all these problems. It’s the source of the incentive to look for other organizations or means to participate — which then results in the campaign finance reformers playing whack-a-mole.
Center for Public Integrity: How hopeful are you that this Congress would consider raising campaign contribution limits?
Bopp: What would be the point of doing something in Congress? [President] Obama’s going to veto it. What would be the point of that exercise?
Center for Public Integrity: Well, certainly in the states, there have been some politicians on both sides of the aisle that have supported raising the limits.
Bopp: No question. Democrats in some states have been the ones who have proposed and passed it. In Illinois, as an example, a very clever way was figured out by them to completely eliminate contribution limits. That means the vast majority of the money goes to the candidate. And you can vote for or against the candidate based on who is supporting them. You can’t vote against a super PAC.
Center for Public Integrity: In your mind, how long until the entire system reaches a tipping point?
Bopp: We have reached the tipping point! It’s utterly unaccountable and non-transparent. And it’s all because the rules have made them so … This is a downward spiral until the whole system collapses, which it is very close to. The effects of contribution limits have so distorted the system that we have almost zero accountability and transparency.