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Organized Corruption, Or Free Speech In Action?

The Washington Post reports:

Campaign contributions from oil industry executives to Sen. John McCain rose dramatically in the last half of June, after the senator from Arizona made a high-profile split with environmentalists and reversed his opposition to the federal ban on offshore drilling.

Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month--three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban--compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May. 

It's a particularly impressive amount given that McCain only has another month or so in which to spend it. It's rare to see an episode this egregious of a candidate's fundraising coffers swelling as a result of a specific policy change, and there's certainly something intuitively repulsive about it, even though it violates neither the letter nor the spirit of current campaign-finance law. It's still a good argument for trying to move toward a more generous system of public funding.

--Josh Patashnik