No “one” thing will fix our campaign finance problems, except perhaps a 100% turnover in 2014!
By Jack E. Lohman
Let’s get this straight… we can fix the problem of political corruption, though we have two major obstacles:
- The corrupt politicians themselves, that would like to keep the system broken because the cash keeps them re-elected, and
- the Fat Cats that pad the politician’s pockets for taxpayer assets in return. One is sharing the booty with the other, and they both love it.
And the politicians? One would have to think — or hope — that they’ve been burnt by dark money. I’d guess that the GOP must be giving serious thought to its negative impact on the last election.
Finding a politician that is sincere will be difficult, as most talk out of both sides of their mouth. So we’ll have to do it with voter power (for sure the center 20-40% of voters will be key).
Even stalwarts like Russ Feingold and John McCain and Bernie Sanders. Why didn’t they disrupt congress with a filibuster until campaign reform was addressed? Or did We The People just receive lip service, us not being very important?
Three key efforts…
Move to Amend (MTA)… the Constitution to nullify the 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, which essentially ruled that corporations are equal to people, and the court’s 1976 ruling that money is equal to speech. (The latter is when the societal harm began.)
MTA could happen fast (a year) or take a decade, but it is a worthwhile effort to raise public awareness and to give legal standing to other reforms. And it quiets any opposition, or I would hope so. But as written it only clears the way to the latter reform, and doesn’t actually make any reforms itself.
Like controlling money given by the David Kochs of the world directly to the politicians they control (like Scott Walker). OR controlling the money given by Fat Cats to Karl Rove’s lobbying group for media advertising to benefit the corrupt politicians. Both will need Constitutional freedom to ban them. (But next week’s guest contributor — constitutional lawyer Rob Hager — disagrees.)
Public funding of campaigns… the truth is, the MTA effort is not necessary to allow public funding of campaigns, either mandated or voluntary by the candidate. As a co-equal branch of government, congress has the authority today, under Article III of the Constitution, to mandate how congressional elections are funded.
That is, *IF* they want to. But politicians from both parties prefer the system broken because it keeps the cash rolling in, and because they can blame the Supreme Court and our 1st Amendment for their being handcuffed.
But finding a politician knowledgeable of Article III and willing to press for such an unpopular bill (that will force honesty) will be difficult. Thus an activist group has formed to elicit the center 20-40% of voters to put this single issue above all others, and elect representatives willing to make this their #1 issue, and unelect those who do not support honest government.
But even these two reforms will not eliminate the flow of ALL dark money… For example, outside money given by David Koch, Karl Rove and Grover Norquist can still fund radio, TV, and Internet advertising to the benefit of these same corrupt politicians. Thus a congressional bill will have to be drawn to eliminate these expenditures which also beholden our politicians to the Fat Cats. There, the politican crooks can legitimately hide behind the two Supreme Court rulings, thus the Move to Amend effort is critical.
Some will recommend “disclosure,” but I don’t want to know “who” is bribing my politicians, I don’t want them bribed at all. But this world lives on bribes, even those US taxpayers send to Afghanistan politicians to allow us in their country.
Our public (voters) MUST become knowledgeable about campaign bribes. They WORK, or they wouldn’t be given. And when they work a little bit more of our nation is passed from the middle class to the Fat Cats. How are you liking it so far?
One would think that We The People would not have to jump through hoops to find ways to stop the flow of cash bribes to our esteemed Congressmen, but we have tolerated these crooks for far too long. It is time for change.