At last week’s Stennis-Capitol Press lunch, Representative Earle Banks criticized the campaign of Chief Justice Bill Waller for accepting contributions from political action committees. He suggested such contributions could influence a justice and Banks pledged not to accept any himself. Later, when asked by WAPT’s Scott Simmons, Banks did admit accepting PAC contributions in the past during his legislative campaigns. So I guess either Earle Banks has a guilty conscience for feeling influenced as a legislator by these PAC contributions – or – he knows you can receive contributions and not be influenced (in which his criticism rings hollow).
Candidates who run on the issue of not accepting certain kinds of contributions – even though they are legal – typically fall into one of two categories: 1) Ideologues like the late Senator Paul Wellstone who refused to accept PAC money or 2) Underdogs unlikely to receive the money anyway. (It should be noted that Wellstone was both during his first Senate campaign, and neither during his last campaign.)