Jeb Bush is running for president. He just has to be careful not to say that out loud. Bush has been testing the limits of election laws during his months of non-campaign campaigning.
“When you look at the totality of the activities, could a reasonable person conclude anything other than that he is seeking the presidency?” asked Karl J. Sandstrom, a campaign finance lawyer who served on the Federal Election Commission.
For a candidate to avoid restrictions by simply not declaring his candidacy, he said, “makes a mockery of the law.”
No, Bush is not “exploring” the possibility of a run—he is completely committed. There is even a date for his announcement: June 15. So why keep up the charade for this long? Money.
“The only reason Jeb hasn’t announced for president is because by not doing so, he has allowed himself to raise oodles of cash for his Right To Rise super PAC. Once he says “I’m running,” Jeb can’t coordinate with the super PAC anymore, which takes the super PAC’s fundraising power down several notches. But as long as Bush is “actively exploring” a candidacy, he can go to these events, talk about the platform he would run on and ask those donors to be supportive in the event he runs,” according to an article in The Washington Post from June 4.
The amount of money Bush is raising (without pesky campaign finance laws) seems to outweigh any negative political repercussions, such a dip in public opinion.
Being the butt of late night jokes certainly isn’t something to strive for, but it the end it will not matter. After Bush announces, the public will quickly forget how long it took him to do so. What will not diminish? The amount of money he was able to raise without restrictions.
[New York Times] [Washington Post] [Image via Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus]