Richard Davis: Campaign finance reforms — the time is now

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  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 7, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    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…

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    Yes, mandatory income tax return disclosure is needed.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    EXCELLENT article.

    It needs to be done. Quickly.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2013 7:29 p.m.

    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"?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    "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.

  • Kim Cedar Park, Texas
    Feb. 6, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    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.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    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 ideas.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    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.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    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.

  • David King Layton, UT
    Feb. 6, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    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.