In My Humble Opinion, Pt. 15

Monday, November 16, 2009
From The Hill:

Report: Anti-Castro funds see dramatic shift to Democrats

Supporters of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba have made more than $10 million in campaign contributions since the 2004 election cycle.

Pro-embargo donors are also continuing to funnel more and more funds to Democrats, according to a report released Monday by Public Campaign, a watchdog group that supports public financing of election campaigns.

"Our committee always gets criticized for its political activism," said Mauricio Claver-Carone, a former career Treasury Department attorney who serves as one of the PAC's directors. "We are not going to apologize for using our constitutional rights to support and oppose candidates, and we are proud of it."

Public Campaign argues special interest groups such as those pushing the Cuban embargo can unduly sway public policy through campaign donations. Publicly financed election campaigns are needed to reduce their influence, according to Public Campaign.

Claver-Carone said the PAC is a personal cause for many Cuban-Americans who want lawmakers to protest human rights violations by the Castro regime.

"If we do not speak out for democracy and human rights in Cuba, no one else will," Claver-Carone said. "Yes, Cuban-Americans have vested interests. Our vested interests are friends and family who are suffering under the regime."