Reshma Saujani appeared with Chris Matthews on Hardball yesterday.  She doesn’t appear to understand that a “PAC” is designation under the Federal Election Campaign Act, and there’s nothing inherently evil about them.  Anyone can have a PAC.  You fill out a form and set up a bank account.  It’s pretty simple.  Unions have PACs, blogs have PACs, communities have PACS.  Janitors and teachers pool their money in PACS.

The problem is that people with lots of money use PACs and 527s to get around campaign finance limits. So for example, when chief Reshma backer (and Bloomberg money manager) Steve Rattner was raising money for an independent expenditure to help Joe Lieberman in 2006, he would call up all his rich Wall Street buddies and say “if you’ve already maxed out to Joe, you can still help him out by giving here.”

That was perfectly legal — as opposed to the kickback scheme to shake down New York’s pension system that Rattner’s hedge fund, Quadrangle, engaged in.  Quadrangle recently settled with the SEC for $12 million in fines, but Rattner himself did not settle because the SEC wanted to bar him from trading securities for 3 years, and he felt that might conflict with the book he’s planning to publish imparting his financial wisdom to the world.

Anyway, Reshma seems to think that because Rattner and other Masters of the Universe maxed out to her directly, that somehow this makes the money more pure than if she got it through a PAC.  Of course she doesn’t really believe this, because in the next breath she blasts her primary opponent Carolyn Maloney for inviting lobbyists to a party at a Carole King concert  — you know, the kind of event where individuals like Steve Rattner give candidates money.

Here are just a few of the people who wrote big checks to Reshma.  Someone is going to have to explain to me how it’s morally superior to take money directly from people than it is PACS, or how it makes a candidate any less free from the influence of their donors.  That’s why campaign finance watchdogs like OpenSecrets don’t make any distinction.

And while they’re at it, they might want to explain to Reshma what her position is on letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, because if her answer to Matthews is any indication, she doesn’t appear to know:

Donor Amount Occupation
SCOBY, JOSEPH 2400 Recently retired head of UBS Global Asset Management, world’s largest fund of hedge funds business ($29.85 billion).
SEECHARAN, BEESHAM 2400 Goldman Sachs
SETTY, GAUTAM 2400 Minlam Asset Management
SHETTY, ROMITA 2400 Former Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, ran the Global Special Opportunities group
SHETTY, ROMITA 2400 Former Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, ran the Global Special Opportunities group
SINGH, GAGAN 2400 Senior VP, PNC Bank
STEINBERG, RUTH 2400 Senior VP, Avenue Capital
STRICKLER, ELLEN 2400 Wife of Dan Strickler, founder of Morgan Stanley’s mergers and acquisitions department in the 1960 and one its of the largest individual shareholders (3.8 million shares)
SUNDARAM, RAM 2400 Made partner at Goldman Sachs in 2008 after firm got 100 cents on dollar for his trades he insured with AIG, pushing them to the brink of collapse
TENENBAUM, ANN 2400 Wife of Thomas H. Lee, who founded one of the oldest and largest private equity firms in the world.
TUDOR JONES, PAUL 2400 Founder, Tudor Investments, worth $6.3 billion,
TUDOR JONES, PAUL 2400 Founder, Tudor Investments, personal worth of $6.3 billion
VARADHAN, ASHOK 2400 Goldman Sachs trader who recently payed $16.3 million for a unit at 15 Central Park West
WHITE, ANDREW 2400 Fortress Investment
WHITE, ANDREW 2400 Fortress Investment
WHITE, MAUREEN 2400 Mrs. Steve Rattner
WIJEGOONARATNA, S.P. 2400 CEO & CIO, Galle Global Macro Partners (Hedge Fund)
WIJEGOONARATNA, SRI P. 2400 CEO & CIO, Galle Global Macro Partners (Hedge Fund)
ZAFAR, KASHIF 2400 Managing Director at Barclay’s UK
ZAFAR, KASHIF 2400 Managing Director at Barclay’s UK
ZAFAR, SUJATHA 2400 Wife of Kashif Zafar, Managing Director at Barclay’s UK
ZAFAR, SUJATHA 2400 Wife of Kashif Zafar, Managing Director at Barclay’s UK
ZARIN, JUDITH 2400 Wife of Gerard Rosenfeld, former head of Lazard-Freres