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Comments about ‘Letter: Transparent campaign finance’

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Published: Tuesday, March 18 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

It looks like a good idea except for the use of "excess" funds. Any money not needed should be returned to the donors, each receiving a percentage, based on his total donations. That money does not belong to the Schools, nor to the government. It belongs to the candidate, and, if not needed, it belongs to the person that donated it.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

I like the idea as well… and have issues with the "leftovers" idea. But that said, even if you did exactly this, each and every candidate now has their own "PAC" which is not subject to any of these rules and regulations. The PACs could not directly campaign for any particular candidate - but could campaign against others. The number of PACs has exploded - and is a protected form of frees peach.

So even if you cleaned up the individual…. you would have to do something about PACs. And constitutionally, I am not sure there is much you can do there other than remove their non-profit status.

I am afraid we are stuck with money buys influence….

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Nice idea, but candidates would just stop asking for donations directly. They'd set up PACs through a friend or some independent party and rake in the cash that way. A PAC can collect money all day long and spend it freely. Because of Citizens United, anybody could bypass this proposed law.

Jl
Sandy, UT

Money is not speech. As soon as we understand this concept we can begin to control the unlimited influence a very small minority have on our so called democracy(or republic if it makes you feel better). If you really want less regulation, less of everything then make your elected officials do their own job and not let their bribers run the show.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

If you want real transparency, you'd have to require disclosure of direct donors to each candidate, as well as disclosure of donors to PACs. But even then you might not get transparency, since individuals, corporations, associations, etc. can easily set up many layers of shell entities through which donations are routed (that's already happening). And what's to keep a donor who wants to remain secret from leaving an "anonymous" bag of cash on the candidate's doorstep?

Sad that the Constitution has been used to accommodate political manipulation like this through an expansive interpretation of what constitutes free speech.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I like the idea of limiting campaign finances... but this can get carried away. We need to remember that we still live in the United States. We are still free. We have individual rights.

That means we have the right to express ourselves (without the government or the SS agents monitoring and tracking what we do with our money).

That means we have the right to privacy.

We have the right to our own money... and to use it the way we see fit (not the way the government sees fit).

===

We need to be careful we don't give away our rights because we are upset by how SOME people use their rights.

Maintaining Liberty is a constant battle.

We should be careful not to give up our individual liberty and rights, in exchange for the promise that the people in government will never use this info against us (or against our neighbors). Government surveillance of what campaigns we are contributing to... what candidates we supported, what we are saying... what we are doing... etc... not Constitutional.

This campaign finance tracking could someday be used against us by an extremely paranoid regime.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Or we could mix up a concoction of fresh gizzards and hearts boiled in a pot of bat blood and ask each candidate to drink at least 8 ounces. Who knows, it may work just as well.

The fact is, if we want to curtail the effect of the rich and powerful on elections of politicians, we have to eliminate the parts of the election process that money effects. Stop all political election campaigns in favor of a simple, printed, widely publicized resume of the candidate that shows his experience, education, and affiliations.

Further, eliminate all restrictions and hurdles to voting that are not explicit in the Constitution. Provide a fool proof way to prevent multiple voting of the same person. Purple finger?

People will not voluntarily obey any law that is contrary to their personal welfare. Politicians and people seeking jobs will not voluntarily give information that contrary to being elected.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

It's simple.

Brian King and the Democrats proposed a bill which would strictly limit campaign donations. Every single Democrat voted in support of this bill.

The Republicans killed this bill. Own it. No more excuses.

Republicans in utah support elections and legislation being up for sale, just liken john swallow.

Remember this come fall.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

2 Bits.

No. We don't have an unlimited right to express ourselves. We don't have a right to use our money any way we see fit.

We are a society of people who have agreed to limit our rights and freedoms according to the will of the people and enforced by our political government.

Participation in this society is not mandatory, you are not forced to be an American.

You may think any thing you want but you cannot say any thing you want outside your private world.

You may spend your money as you please as long as some charities provide you with the necessities of life. However just like the rest of us, probably, you will be forced to give up your money for other things like food, shelter and other necessities that are more valuable to you than money.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think it's rich for Obama to propose campaign finance reform... since his was the highest funded campaign in US history.

In the 2008 election Obama's warchest was the biggest in US History. (source Wikipedia).

This is a quote...
"Barack Obama's fundraising broke previous records for presidential primary and general campaigns, and has changed expectations for future presidential elections. By the general election the campaign committee raised more than $650 million for itself, and coordinated with both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and at least 18 state-level Democratic committees to create a joint-fundraising committee to raise and split tens of millions of dollars more"...

Google "Top Contributors to Barack Obama | OpenSecrets"...

President Clinton's campaign had to give back funds that after the election were proven to have come from China...

Democrats really can't pretend to be on a high horse when it comes to limiting campaign contributions... Especially President Obama.

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IMO limiting how much labor unions and businesses can contribute to a campaign (to a reasonable number) would be a good idea. But tracking what each individual contributed... and to who... and who they voted for... etc... not constitutional.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

2 Bits…. so why don't we jump to 2012 then… and look at those numbers. Romney and campaign spent 992 million on their campaign (PAC money included). Obama and company spent 985.7 million (PAC money included). Of those funds… for Romney, the PACs represented 16% of that spend. For Obama, it was 6 percent. Top donors to PACs… to Romney it was Sheldon Adelson and wife at 30 million - billionaire Casino owner…. top Obama PAC donation was from James H. Simons - President of Euclidean Capital.

So you can spin this anyway you want. Obama did have more donations, from more people, at lower rates per donation… but still more than Romney had. Romney personally pulled in less money, but at a higher donation rate per person… but a bigger proportion of that money came through the RNC and PACs.

Pick your poison. To say one was or wan't on higher moral ground is seriously debatable.

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