Specter tries to cash in on cancer

| Friday, May 8, 2009

So desperately does Arlen Specter crave your cash that he is willing to be deplorably disingenuous to obtain it.

He apparently is willing to risk offending anyone who has suffered from cancer, autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or diabetes.

Those are the illnesses and conditions specifically mentioned in a new Web site the Pennsylvania Demopublican has launched, ostensibly to help vanquish various diseases.

In reality, the site exists exclusively to bankroll Specter's continued mischief in Washington. All of the contributions will be directed to his re-election campaign.

But the site isn't called Shekels for Specter.

It's called Specter for the Cure.

This is a classic bait-and-switch scheme.

Don't believe me?

Visit the site ( www.specterforthecure.com ) and decide for yourself.

Its main page doesn't feature a photo of Specter with tin cup in hand, but a picture of girl with strips of red tape over her mouth.

To her right, below a "Donate Now!" button, is this modest proclamation: "Senator Arlen Specter intends to build a bridge over the valley of death."

"Specter has launched Specter for the Cure, a bold new initiative to reform our government's medical research efforts, cut red tape and unstrangle the hope for accelerated cures."

Just how does Specter hope to accomplish those goals?

By getting re-elected next year.

But it isn't until the fundraising plea's 11th paragraph that it becomes clear that donations made to Specter for the Cure actually go to a cause much closer to the senator's heart: Specter for the Senate.

Only at the very bottom of the page, in type not much larger than the microscopic bacteria you would find in a Petri dish, is it disclosed that the site is paid for by Citizens for Arlen Specter.

Misleading• Not according to Specter campaign manager Chris Nicholas, who insisted, "No one is genuinely confused about where contributions to this Web site go."

Federal election campaign law requires those paying for campaign solicitations to provide "clear and conspicuous" identification on the solicitation.

The statute specifically states the notice does not meet those criteria if it is placed in a location where it can easily be overlooked.

Federal Election Commission spokesman Christian Hillard said that if someone feels the Web site is violating the law by having an inconspicuous disclaimer, "they are more than welcome to file a complaint with the commission."

He declined to say whether any have been filed. The FEC keeps all complaints confidential until they are reviewed and resolved, he said.

Even if Specter has adhered to the letter of the law, he has trampled its spirit. He has insulted those fighting the very ailments he professes he wants to eliminate.

Co-opting cancer for campaign purposes• Sick stuff indeed.

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