No-limit politics

August 7, 2008

I thought the Indianapolis Star supported the First Amendment. Guess I was wrong:

As it stands, state law allows any individual to give any amount of money to a political candidate. Political action committees also can lavish as much cash on a campaign as they desire.

[. . .]

Campaign contributors have two basic motivations in giving money to campaigns. One, they genuinely believe in the candidate’s vision and goals. Or two, they want access to people in power, and they understand that contributions can ensure that access.

It’s because of that second reason that 38 states already limit the amount of money individuals and PACs can give to any one candidate. Indiana needs to join them.

No, sorry. Spending money on a campaign is my best way to have my political voice heard. That’s what the First Amendment is all about, not nude dancing or whether comics can say the “F” word. If the politicians can limit my contributions, whom does that benefit? The incumbent politicians! Way to support the status quo, Star editorial board.

The only part of the recommendation that makes sense is requiring campaigns report all contributions promptly, perhaps monthly. With full disclosure required — with severe penalties for noncompliance, uniformly enforced — the voters will know who is beholden to whom and can vote accordingly.

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One Response to “No-limit politics”

  1. Harl Delos Says:

    Spending money on a campaign is my best way to have my political voice heard.

    That was true 20 years ago, but that’s no longer true. Twenty years ago, you had to spend millions to get heard. These days, Paris Hilton sets up a camera and uploads the commercial to YouTube for free.

    The only part of the recommendation that makes sense is requiring campaigns report all contributions promptly, perhaps monthly.

    I’m against any reporting requirement of contributions. Reports are burdensome.

    Instead, require that the contributions are published (the campaign’s website would be a good place) daily, as the campaign’s bookkeepers deposit the contributions into the bank.

    Otherwise, contributions on September 15 would not be reported until October 15, and the commission wouldn’t get around to publishing the information until after a November 4 election, when it’s too late.

    If they have to publish the data themselves, as it’s received, contributions on Friday, October 24 would be seen on Monday, October 27, and voters could know before the election.


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