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March 17, 2006
Charity Begins At Home

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has split after an internecine fight between Democrats on how funds have been allocated to candidates. Six members of the caucus have disassociated themselves from their fundraising committee after its chair, Joe Baca (D-CA), directed its PAC contributions to the campaigns of local races instead of federal races -- and the local candidates in question just happen to be Bacas:

Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., who chairs the Building Our Leadership Diversity Political Action Committee, or BOLDPAC, defended the decision to give $3,300 each to Joe Baca Jr., a member of the California Assembly who's running for state Senate, and to Jeremy Baca, who is running for California Assembly.

"We should not discriminate against any member who has a family member who wants to serve in public office, whether it's mine or anyone else's," said Baca. He said the decision to give to his sons was made by a seven-member board of lawmakers that oversees the political action committee's expenditures. Baca said he did not vote.

In a letter to Baca, the six lawmakers said BOLDPAC needed to focus on federal candidates and boost Democratic efforts to retake control of the House. In interviews, several also said Baca Jr. is running against another Latino candidate, Assemblywoman Gloria Negrete-McLeod, in the Democratic primary.

The people who donated to BOLDPAC must be delighted to know that their contributions have not only gone to oppose Hispanic candidates like Negrete-McLeod, but have been used as the Baca family piggy bank. Baca gave over six percent of all funds raised last year to his own family. Now Baca wants to sell the idea that the allocation came from the board, not from him -- that BOLDPAC suddenly felt like funding local candidates and the only politicians that qualified were named Baca. What a coincidence!

Baca will likely get drummed out of this position in the next few months, although with the ridiculously protected districts in California's apportionment scheme, none of the Bacas will suffer for this petty corruption where it counts most. The root of the problem lies in the lack of oversight that the caucus has given BOLDPAC, and the legislators who walk away do nothing to solve the problem. If Loretta Sanchez, Dennis Cardoza, and the others want to put an end to the corruption, they need to stick around and force Baca out of his position. It's easy to walk away from a problem; it takes work to fix it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 17, 2006 6:00 AM

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