Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
I would strongly oppose any limit to individual contributions to political
campaigns in the state. The way you choose to spend your money is an exercise
of the first amendment right to free speech. When people buy products or
services that I may find objectionable, I can use my first amendment right to
try to dissuade them and convince others, but I don't pretend to have the
ability to control their spending habits by force of law. This is not to say
that all this money is not a problem, but I believe campaign finance reform
usually attacks this problem from the wrong end. We don't need better
laws. We need better people as our lawmakers. We need to stop re-electing
those who have shown lapses of judgement, ethics, and transparency. There are
plenty of good, qualified people in our state and nation. We just need to
search carefully and evaluate more deeply.
While I completely agree with the main thrust of this article, I think
accomplishing it may prove difficult. The TV ads in this last election set new
standards for tastelessness, inaccuracy, viciousness and flat dishonesty.
Flooding the airwaves with advocacy ads accomplished nothing except make the
experience of watching television actively unpleasant. But rolling back the
Citizens United decision may well require a Constitutional amendment. And
I'm not even sure one could be crafted that wouldn't restrict First
Amendment rights. But I'm loathe to think that we're just going to
have to put up with mendacious ugliness on the public airwaves every four years.
Excellent editorial, but Eric is right. Still, we can always hope the Super PACs
will figure out that their huge expenditures were also a huge waste of money. I
think most voters listen once, determine that the ad is a pack of lies or is so
biased as to be unbelievable, and simply tune the ad out the next 67 times it
airs. If the election results are any indication, most voters were not swayed
much by all the ugly, mendacious ads.
Re: "Now is the time to act."Yeah -- and by "act"
you mean . . . what?Repeal the First Amendment? Pack the Supreme
Court with liberals that will do the President's bidding and overturn
Citizens United [thereby reinstating the trade unions' and media
corporations' information monopoly]?How about acting to
prosecute politicians who, like Mr. Frank, are being influenced by donations?
How about prosecuting the left-wing donors and packagers that provide the
mother's milk of leftist political action, then insist on expensive,
tax-funded quid pro quo -- such as appointment to ambassadorships and to
prestigious, boards and commissions? How about acting to prosecute trade unions
that extort members' dues, then funnel them to leftist candidates,
regardless of members' views?"Campaign finance reform"
means one thing to real people. Quite another to liberals.To
liberals, it means excluding all voices but theirs from the marketplace of
The every increasing money involved in politics is the single greatest threat to
our form of government. Corporations and wealthy individuals do not donate to
campaigns out of the goodness of their hearts. It is an investment for them.
They get special considerations for their "investment" often worth
millions of dollars. Most politicians end up compromising their values in face
of this onslaught of money. Our government is becoming for sale to highest
bidder. Until both parties can agree, and the Supreme Court upholds, campaign
reform will remain an illusive goal.
"How about acting to prosecute politicians who, like Mr. Frank, are being
influenced by donations?"One would be hard pressed to find ANY
member of congress that is not "influenced by donations".Congress is supposed to avoid the "appearance of impropriety"When one takes a contribution from a person or a company, and then votes on
legislation that affects that company, at a minimum, they have failed the
"appearance of impropriety" test.While I must accept that
the Citizens United ruling was based on law, I feel that it is time to band
together as citizens to demand that the money be removed from politics.If that takes a constitutional amendment, so be it.Most of our
politicians, R or D, would do a far better job and do what is right for the
country if not for the financial influence.
procurad. People who only see the negative impact of the "other" sides
money are beyond discussion.Both sides are bought and paid for.
Even the conservatives.It is really sad when partisans can not at
least acknowledge that.George Soros and the Koch Brothers.There is effectively no difference in them, except the side they donate to.
It is disingenuous to rail against one without admitting that they both look to
affect legislation.Is it OK if you happen to like the legislation
that they are "buying"?
EXCELLENT article.It needs to be done. Quickly.
Yes, mandatory income tax return disclosure is needed.
Now this is the kind of issue that DN needs to keep running articles about over
and over (sort of like what they’ve been doing lately with gay marriage
and contraception) so people can wake up long before our society starts to look
like a dystopic Ridley Scott movie. Sadly, I don’t see much
chance of any real change until we get rid of the ridiculous idea that
corporations are people – when a corporation can serve a prison sentence
or die of natural causes, then maybe…Many other countries have
grappled with this issue and by far the best solution seems to be a purely
public finance model for all political campaigns.If there’s a
better solution, I haven’t heard of it…
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