NEW MEANING FOR “PUBLICLY FINANCED” CAMPAIGNS….The EPA is running ads in Spanish-language media touting the benefits of George Bush’s Orwellian-named “Clear Skies” legislation. Does that sound to you suspiciously like a campaign commercial aimed at a likely swing group of voters? Does it also sound like it might be illegal? Give yourself a gold star:

Congress’s appropriations measure for the EPA prohibits the agency from using government funds for publicity purposes or to prepare or distribute TV or radio presentations designed to support or defeat legislation. A federal statute also prohibits federal officials from engaging in campaigns on pending legislative matters.

….[EPA spokeswoman Lisa] Harrison said EPA officials, including the general counsel, believe the public service announcements are appropriate because “they inform public opinion on Clear Skies legislation,” but that “they do not expressly request members of the public to contact Congress in support of Clear Skies.”

So anything goes as long as they don’t “expressly request” the public’s support? That’s pathetic.

The Bush/Cheney ’04 campaign is going to raise ? what? $200 million? $300 million? But they still feel like they have to siphon off public funds for thinly diguised campaign commercials funded by taxpayers. Do these guys have any limit to their avarice at all?

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