Butch Lugrod’s Manopia

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Campaign Finance Hypocrisy

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So, when Republicans raise tons of money, it destroy[s] the last vestiges of democracy, but when Democrats raise truckoads of cash, it is a stunning and unprecedented eruption of political giving?

What a bunch of hooey. I have never heard a good argument for restricting the flow of money into politics, and that is not because I have a conflict of interest (I work in politics.) I believe that our system is completely broken and that our current slate of campaign finance regulations is so convoluted and byzantine, that legislative efforts to restrict the flow of money into the system has only been detrimental to our democracy and our political climate.

I would much rather have an unrestricted flow of funding from individuals, fully disclosed, than a system (like the one we have now) which forces that money into the hands of third party entities and non-profits which do not have to disclose their donor lists. Why are political parties so restricted in the amount of money and spending that they can coordinate with their own damn candidates? But a rogue 527 group can theoretically raise billions, without disclosing the source of a single dime, to run false or misleading advertising in opposition to a candidate?

The solution here is not to place restrictions on these groups; the solution is to free up the parties and candidates from many of these asinine restrictions. In 2008, the requirement to disclose all spending and donors is far more significant than it was in the 1980s and 1990s — it is likely the only requirement that we need. Any private citizen or journalist can peruse those reports on the Federal Election Commission’s web site or any state election commission’s site and bring donors under full democratic scrutiny. Most of these candidates will be self-policing; and in such a climate, you can be sure that the media will put donors under extra scrutiny.

Further restrictions are only going to force that money into even more shady hands. By raising restrictions on parties and candidates, I am willing to bet that you would not see a significant increase in the amount of funding flowing to those groups; but I am equally certain that you would see the funding to unaccountable non-profit groups almost completely dry up.

*UPDATE* This is one of those posts that started out as one thing (mocking the opposition) and turned into something else (a rant against something that hits home with me.) I apologize for the confusion.


Written by Butch

October 21, 2008 at 9:20 am

Posted in politics, rants

Tagged with ,