Sunday, November 11, 2007

Give 'Em the Bird, Vote For a Third! Pt 6 - The Money Game

Rep Don Young (R-AK) is a perfect example of why campaign finance reform is so necessary in this country. According to a report in McClatchy Newspapers, about 85% [Correction: I mistakenly typed 895%. This was not intentional, and I was not being sarcastic. I meant 85%. My apologies.] of the money he raised to get re-elected came from people who did not live in Alaska. (Alaska only has one US Representative At Large). Why should any candidate for US Representative or US Senator be allowed to accept money from people who would not be constituents? There is no excuse for this, and it is unacceptable.

Let me give you a broad hypothetical. Suppose I was a multi-billionaire (many times over), and I wanted to heavily influence every Congressional race in the country. I want to see people in Congress who share my view about the licensing rights of the product I make and sell. Current law is eating into the potential for me to make billions more, and I want that to change. So I contribute the maximum amount allowable under federal law to a candidate in each and every race in the country. I will also part with several hundred million more dollars in soft money to the political parties. When the time comes to have legislation passed that would benefit me and, for the most part, me alone, to the tune of billions of dollars, how can legislators, some of whom might be voting against the best interests of their own constituents over mine, justify casting that vote? I'll tell you how. They don't, because they don't have to. They do it, I make billions, and most people never learn the truth. Why should I be able to wield that kind of influence over lawmakers who do not represent me in Congress?

How many people in Alaska knew that their sole Representative on Congress was taking $17 out of every $20 he raised from people he should care less about than the people from his state? If Alaskans liked him so much, then why did he need to raise money from people he's not supposed to be representing in Congress? As I have not looked into it, I do not know what percentage of his or her campaign funds his opponents collected from non-Alaskans, but I understand they were considered weak. If so, then why did he need so much money from outsiders? More importantly, why is this even allowed?

I know it sounds naive, but so many of our elected officials, who are supposed to be representing us, their constituents, accept money from people they won't be representing in Congress, and we all know that those political contributions are expected to be rewarded. None of them will ever admit this because it would be a crime to give back such favors in exchange for political contributions. Yet they do it, and they get away with it. And the reason they get away with it is because it's allowed. And it shouldn't be.

You want to clean up politics? You must start by banning any political contributions from non-individuals (that's means both corporations and Political Action Committees, or NAMBLA) and from people who will not be represented by that candidate in Congress. Otherwise, people you don't even know and will likely never meet will have more influence over your Representatives in both Houses of Congress than you ever will. And if they don't represent you, then you are being denied your constitutional right to a republican form of government. And that should bother you a lot.

6 comments:

Jeff Green said...

Wayne A. Schneider wrote:
> Rep Don Young (R-AK) is a perfect example of why campaign finance reform is so necessary in this country. According to a report in McClatchy Newspapers, about 895% of the money he raised to get re-elected came from people who did not live in Alaska. (Alaska only has one US Representative At Large). Why should any candidate for US Representative or US Senator be allowed to accept money from people who would not be constituents? There is no excuse for this, and it is unacceptable.


This has been through the courts many times before. Corporations in the United States are treated under the law as individual citizens, just like you or me. (In virtually every other country corporations are chartered by the government (at various levels) and as such are treated quite differently... it seems to work for them, but back int he 1800's US Corporations wanted extra special legal protections from poor business practices and so sued - and won.

Anyway, as individuals they are able to contribute just as anyone else is, to any political candidate they want. Moreover, even if a corporation is based in another state, they may be doing business in yours, hence they have an interest in the results of elections.

I have to say that I inherently agree with your opinion about this but at the same time I also need to agree with the ability of business to seek their best options. Balancing the two is a problem, I admit. But the solution may very well be public financing of campaigns. Either that, or a candidate who runs for office could promise not to take any out-of-district monies and expose his opponent each time *he* does. The problem with that would be that with the cost of a Congressional campaign the 'good guy' would be spent into oblivion - there just isn't enough money within congressional districts to fund those campaigns. Tis sad, but true.

>
> You want to clean up politics? You must start by banning any political contributions from non-individuals (that's means both corporations and Political Action Committees, or NAMBLA) and from people who will not be represented by that candidate in Congress. Otherwise, people you don't even know and will likely never meet will have more influence over your Representatives in both Houses of Congress than you ever will. And if they don't represent you, then you are being denied your constitutional right to a republican form of government. And that should bother you a lot.


From the very beginning of the United States this has been the case, people do not care since we've been taught that "government" knows what's best. And, if we begin to doubt the truth of that, they just fly an airplane into a building and tell us that it's our doubt that caused the problem.

J

mighty aphrodite said...

Wayne, Surprisingly, you and I don't disagree on this one. It was irritating when Dems from all over the US sent people and money into our congressional district in San Diego to help Francine Busby's election efforts. I think your credibility would be enhanced if you included a few Dems who take the money and run....from anyone they can. I'm sure it was a simple oversight on your part that you failed to mention the BIG $$$$ Labor Unions give their chosen candidates. And Emily's List.....that sort of bundling is OK?

IMHO, I think ONLY individuals should be able to contribute to campaigns in which they have the right to vote - PERIOD.

MA

Jeff Green said...

"IMHO, I think ONLY individuals should be able to contribute to campaigns in which they have the right to vote - PERIOD."

I would agree if there weren't so many first amendment issues behind it but in honesty, the only way you'll see that change is after the Revolution. The political Status Quo much prefers feudalism over true democracy and you know what, the American people seem to agree.

Wayne A. Schneider said...

mighty aphrodite,

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. As is your habit, you ignored the point of the post and focused on the fact that I did not name anyone else or their money sources by name or party. That's because, as should have been clear from the text, neither party is more innocent than the other. The point of what I wrote is that NO candidate for federal office should be allowed to accept money from people who will not be their constituents.

As you know from reading previous things I've posted here and elsewhere, I am not a Democrat. I am registered as an Unaffiliated voter. The entire theme of this series of articles is that both the Democratic and Republican parties are failing the American people. Neither one of these parties has earned the right to rule either House of Congress. But that won't change as long as voters continue to look to the two major political parties, and only them, as having the solutions to our nation's problems. They are not the solution, they are the cause. Both of them. The Democrats AND the Republicans. THAT was the point of my article.

Wayne A. Schneider said...

Jeff Green,

Then we need to amend the constitution to correct the misinterpretation that groups of people for whom no one is held accountable to the law can be treated as individuals. Corporations are not and never have been "individuals". They certainly qualify as an "assemblage" of people, and they have the constitutional right to do that peaceably, but they are not individuals, and should not be treated as though they are.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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