Thursday, December 11, 2008

Campaign financing

Re: Campaign financing March 21, 2008
Much has been said about the need for reform in how political campaigns are financed. The legislation which requires a candidate to choose between using public funding and private funding was an attempt to deal with the problem, but, in my opinion, has accomplished nothing useful. Most political candidates can raise lots more money from contributions from the big money interests than would be allocated to them if they accept public (taxpayer) funding under the present system. Thus, the advantage goes to the monied interests, i.e. wealthy candidates and big corporations. The less wealthy, particularly challengers, have less money for campaigning than do the more wealthy and the incumbents. Few careerist politicians want to change this system, because they like the advantage it gives them.
What if the rules were changed to allow only public money to be used for campaigning---no personal or
 private or corporate money allowed? What if any and all candidates were restricted to a fixed amount (provided by the federal government) to be spent on campaigns? Would this not eliminate the undue influence of lobbyists and big business, all of whom want some favor in return? Would this not put all candidates on an equal footing and force them to focus on the issues instead of on how to raise money?
Without strictly public funding and limited campaign spending, are our politicians really any different from those corrupt officeholders in other countries where bribery and graft are common practice?
Such reform is another one of those badly needed changes, like term limits, which will come about only when enough of us citizens demand it.

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